OBO – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you about to list something for sale in a classifieds like Craigslist? Are you negotiable on your asking price?

If so, you could add ‘obo’ at the end of the listing description to let the person know they can negotiate with you.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this acronym.


The acronym ‘obo’ stands for ‘or best offer.’ It’s a common term used in classified ads on websites like Craigslist. You’ll also find the term used on online websites selling a range of used goods.

The term ‘Obo’ applies to all items sold in used conditions. If your listing contains the abbreviation ‘obo,’ it means that you’re willing to negotiate the price. So, it’s important to note that if you list the item as ‘obo,’ there is a good chance you’re going to get people calling you to take a chance of a low-ball offer.

That means more calls that end up going nowhere. Obo means that the items could be damaged or in unfavorable condition, and the owner is willing to negotiate the price to offset the drop in value caused by the damage.

Example Usage

“I’ve got to sell this old furniture online to raise cash for the new lounge suite. I think I’m going to ask for $100 for the lot, obo. What do you think?”

“One slightly used set of Cobra golf clubs. They are an unwanted gift. I might have used them as a frisbee on the golf course a few times. Asking $200 obo.”

“What does it mean when you see an online listing with ‘obo’ at the end of the description? I think it means ‘or best offer,’ but I’m not sure.”

“If you’re looking for something in the classifieds, take note of the listings with the acronym’ obo.’ That means ‘or best offer,’ and you might score a deal.

“This is my old Toyota, and she’s been with me for years. She’s in good shape, with recent service and full-service history. You get new tires, and I’m including the sound system. Asking $2,000 obo.”

“I’ve been searching for a new TV on Craigslist for hours. I’m only interested in deals with ‘obo’ in the description. That means the owner is willing to negotiate, and I’ll get a good price.”

“That description has ‘obo’ in it. That means you can haggle with the owner and talk them down on their price. Never pay what they’re asking, or you’re the sucker in the deal.”


Language experts are at a loss to explain the origin of the acronym ‘obo.’ There is no written record of its first use or where it appeared in the world. However, it’s a universally-known term in classifieds across the globe. Therefore, it makes it even more challenging to nail down the origin of this abbreviation.

However, some language experts believe it originated in the United States sometime in the late 1960s in classified ads in newspapers. However, there is no evidence to back up this claim and no written record of its first use.

Phrases Similar to Obo

  • Or nearest offer.
  • Negotiable.

Phrases Opposite to Obo

  • Not negotiable.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Obo.
  • Or best offer.

Ways People May Say Obo  Incorrectly

The acronym ‘obo’ has several definitions online. However, all of the other meanings refer to specific industries or sites around the globe. It’s more common for people to refer to ‘or best offer’ when using the term in everyday online communications.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Obo

You can use the acronym ‘obo’ in classified advertisements you post on sites like Craigslist. ‘Or best offer’ means that you’re willing to negotiate with people, and it attracts more people to your listing in the hope that they can talk you out of a bargain.

Obo can apply to all product categories and items in varying conditions. Typically, an owner is selling something ‘obo’ because they don’t want it and need to get rid of it (motivated buyer), or because the item is in poor condition, and they’ll take any offer.

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