What does “Bob’s Your Uncle” and “Fanny’s your aunt” mean in British slang?

Things don’t seem easy these days, whether you’re setting up an online bank account, learning how to work i-teach platform to teach your students, or finding the right ingredients in the supermarket to make your boyfriend’s favorite cake.

I hope things feel easier soon, and to prepare you for when they are I have a few phrases to teach you today.

Imagine it is summer 2019 and you want to go to the beach, well hop in your car, drive for twenty 20 minutes and Bob’s your uncle you are there!

No no I am not talking about your literal uncle at the beach.”Bob’s your uncle” is a phrase commonly used in United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries that means “and there it is” or “and there you have it.”.

However a recent article from the New York Magazine asked ten different Brits what the expression means and got ten different answers, ranging from “anything’s possible” to “there you are”.

Simply translated we could say that this phrase means that the activity you have done or want to do is simply and easy. Typically someone says it to conclude a set of simple instructions or when a result is reached. The meaning is similar to that of the French expression “et voilà!” or the American phrase “easy as pie”.

This expression was first coined in 1887. The origins are uncertain, but a common theory is that the expression arose after Conservative Prime Minister Robert Cecil known as Bob appointed his nephew Arthur Balfour as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1887, an act of favoritism which was apparently both surprising and unpopular. Whatever other qualifications Balfour might have had, “Bob’s your uncle” was seen as the main one. So “Bob’s your uncle” is another way of saying “your success is guaranteed.”

Remember your pronunciation when you use this phrase as it is contracted, we don’t say Bob’s your uncle, but it is more fluid such as bobsyauncle.

A phrase with the same meaning is ‘Fanny’s your aunt’. When used together it means complete or the whole lot. If Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt you’ve got a full set of relatives and you are complete.

Today we can use it like this:

  • Where is the post office ?
  • Go straight on until you reach the park, take the first right, and Bob’s your uncle – you’re there!

That’s the end of our episode of the day so remember to tune in for our next episode so see what new slang we have in store for you! You can find us on our website https://theslangpodcast.com and from there you can see our transcript and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and many more apps. Or head over to our facebook page https://facebook.com/theslangpodcast for updates and more slang!