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1. Literally, to move up into view above the surface of something. Otters often bob up in this part of the harbor, so it's a great place to take photographs.
2. To appear, arise, or come into being quickly and/or unexpectedly. We thought the meeting was over until several questions bobbed up from the back row. The city is deceptively small, and acquaintances often bob up at the most unexpected places.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Appear suddenly or unexpectedly. For example, I didn't know anyone in the group until Harry bobbed up. This term uses the verb bob in the sense of "to bounce," a usage dating from Chaucer's day. [Late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To come to the surface quickly, especially after being underneath for a short time: I didn't think anyone else was swimming in the pond, but then someone's head bobbed up right in front of me.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.