The phrase fresh off the boat (FOB), off the boat (OTB), are sometimes-derogatory terms used to describe immigrants who have arrived from a foreign nation and have yet to assimilate into the host nation's culture, language, and behavior, but still continue with their ethnic ideas and practices.[1] Within ethnic Asian circles in the United States, the phrase is considered politically incorrect and derogatory. It can also be used to describe the stereotypical behavior of new immigrants as, for example, their poor driving skills,[2] that they are educated yet working low-skilled or unskilled jobs, and their use of broken English. The term originates in the early days of immigration, when people mostly migrated to other countries by ship. "Fresh off the Boeing 707" (in reference to the Boeing 707 jet) is sometimes used in the United States as a variation, especially amongst East, South and Southeast Asian immigrants.[3] In the United Kingdom "fresh off the boat" (mostly in regard to Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis as well as other immigrant groups) are referred to as freshies or simply FOBs.[4]

In the sociology of ethnicity, this term can be seen as an indicator of a nature of diasporic communities, or communities that have left their country of origin and migrated, usually permanently, to another country. The term has also been adapted by immigrants themselves or others in their community who see the differentiation as a source of pride, where they have retained their culture and have not lost it to assimilation. In fact, instead of taking this harm-intended phrase as an insult, many immigrants and more specifically, East and South Asians (especially their American-born children) may use this term to describe their cultural background habits and fashion sense, for example "fobby clothing", "fobby glasses", "fobby accent", and others[citation needed]. Similarly, some in the Arab-American community in Michigan refer to themselves as "Boaters", using it as a term of endearment, while others see it as an insult.[5]

Daryanani Law Group documents the struggles of ethnic communities to understand the English language. From high-schoolers to college students like Rishikesh Balaji, a "fob" mentioned in the article, common societal events like not knowing who OJ Simpson is and confusing it with Homer Simpson are day-to-day struggles that can be difficult and often be a comedic focus in their lives.[6] In some instances, an "ethnic community" may find it difficult to assimilate with their new culture. Although some try to assimilate, they may fail due to the very swift transition to the host continent.[7]


See also



  1. ^ Goleman, Daniel (2006). Social intelligence: the new science of human relationships (illustrated ed.). Random House, Inc. p. 305. ISBN 978-0-553-80352-5.
  2. ^ Sturgeon, Ron; Gahan Wilson (2005). Business jargon (illustrated, abridged ed.). Ron Sturgeon. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-9717031-1-7.
  3. ^ Gloria Anzaldúa; AnaLouise Keating (2013). this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation. Routledge. pp. 211–212. ISBN 9781135351526.
  4. ^ Katharine Charsley; Marta Bolognan (3 March 2016). "Being a freshie is (not) cool: stigma, capital and disgust in British Pakistani stereotypes of new subcontinental migrants". Ethnic and Racial Studies. 40: 43–62. doi:10.1080/01419870.2016.1145713. hdl:1983/8613307c-f20b-4ff9-83d2-ea05b1b3ff7e.
  5. ^ Harb, Ali (18 July 2014). ""Boater:" A term of endearment or an insult?". The Arab American News.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Reinelt, Janelle G.; Joseph R. Roach (2007). Critical theory and performance (revised, illustrated ed.). University of Michigan Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-472-06886-9.