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A cob is a small round brown loaf. The word cobbe in Middle English was a general term for any round lumpy object, and was applied specifically to a range of round things, including ‘heads’, ‘pieces of coal’, and ‘testicles’. The earliest record of its use for a ‘loaf’ is a metaphorical one, from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida (1606), where Ajax calls Thersites ‘Thou cobloaf!’—not a complimentary reference. The cob of cobnut is the same word.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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