All about bibs

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A baby bib

A baby wearing a bib while being fed

A bib is a garment worn hanging from the neck on the chest to protect clothing from spilt food. Bibs are frequently used by children, especially infants, but also by some adults. Bibs are also worn when consuming certain "messy" foods, such as lobster.


The word, reported in English since 1580, stems from a verb bibben "to drink" (c.1380), from Latin bibere, either because it was worn while drinking or because it "soaked up" spills.


Part of garment

The bib of an apron

The term bib may also refer to the part of a garment that covers the chest. For instance, an apron that covers the chest may be referred to as a bib apron. The part of a jumper dress or of an overall that covers the chest may also be referred to as a bib.

In sport, it may refer to a garment that used by a team to identify themselves on the field of play (a jersey), or to identify a participant in a competition with a start number ("bib number"). Powerlifters wear a bib benchpress shirt across their chest area to help them lift more weight. In Netball, bibs are used by the umpire to identify players' positions so it can be determined who is within their allowed area.

Paper bibs are also commonly used in dentist offices to protect the patient's clothing during checkups and cleanings. Another medical use is during an x-ray, a lead bib can be put over a patient to prevent the radiation from spreading to parts other than the part of the body being tested.

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