It's a cob! The CORRECT way to ask for a bread roll in Nottingham - and why we say it

Here in Nottingham we have a commonly-used slang word for bread rolls Here in Nottingham we have a commonly-used slang word for bread rolls
Here in Nottingham we have a commonly-used slang word for bread rolls
Bread roll, cob or barm cake?

Wherever you go in the UK you’ll pick up on certain words and phrases that sound a bit strange. 

In some areas, dialect can significantly change just by travelling a few miles or crossing the border into another county. 

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With its own unique dialect, Nottingham is no exception to this rule. 

Nottingham might be one of several major towns and cities in the midlands, but it’s fair to say that here we speak completely differently to those from, say, Birmingham. 

Locals who have grown up in and around the city will be familiar with a number of unique words and phrases, such as ‘mardy’ and ‘mi duck’. 

Another example of Nottinghamese is, of course, ‘cob’. 

Do you use the word 'cob' when speaking about bread rolls? Do you use the word 'cob' when speaking about bread rolls?
Do you use the word 'cob' when speaking about bread rolls?

Now, outsiders might think that ‘cob’ refers to the central core of sweetcorn, but here in Nottingham the word adopts an entirely different meaning. 

As we all know, ‘cob’ is slang for a bread roll. 

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Interestingly, the origins of this slang are not set in stone and are very much open to interpretation. 

A 2018 YouGov poll determined that more than 50% of people in Nottingham use the word ‘cob’ when referring to a bread roll, how on earth did the meaning originate? 

'Cob' is the most popular slang for a bread roll in the Midlands 'Cob' is the most popular slang for a bread roll in the Midlands
'Cob' is the most popular slang for a bread roll in the Midlands

One theory suggests that the word reflects the size and shape of a bread roll, which is similar to a cobblestone. 

‘Cob’, therefore, would be a shortened version of ‘cobblestone’. 

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Another suggestion is that the word ‘cop’ is an archaic way of referring to a person’s head, and somehow ‘cob’ is a sub-variant of this. 

There have also been suggestions that ‘cob’ is an acronym for ‘circle of bread’, which certainly makes sense. 

Other regional slang for a bread roll includes barm cake, bap, bun, and muffin. 

We’d love to hear what you think the correct version is!

You have been warned: next time you're ordering a sandwich from a bakery in Nottingham, you had best use the proper term.