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Perhaps from the British dialectal term cob (take a liking to). Possibly a self-referential collective term for convicts and immigrants who departed for Australian shores from the Irish port of Cobh. Another suggested source is Yiddish חבֿר(khaver, comrade), which is borrowed from Hebrew חבר(khavér, friend).[1]



cobber (plural cobbers)

  1. (Australia) A pal, buddy, mate, friend; often used in direct address by one male to another.
    What's up, cobber?
    G'day cobber!
    • 1953, Nevil Shute, In the Wet, 2010, unnumbered page,
      “He′s a good cobber, even if he is the parson,” he said at last. “He′s a good cobber.”
      “That′s right,” said Jim patiently. “He′s a good cobber, and he′s the parson. Now you buzz off and leave him be. We′ve got business to talk here.”
    • 1955, Charles McCormac, “You′ll Die in Singapore!”[1], page 181:
      He was the first member of our forces we had seen for five months. “Hi ya, cobber,” muttered Don.
    • 2009, George W. Adams, Under the Southern Cross[2], page 137:
      A voice from out of nowhere challenged: “Who is going away cobber?” “Bob!” I shouted. “Boy, am I glad to see you ... Where the hell have you been, my dear bloody cobber?”