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Topic: Etymology of "hobby"  (Read 10447 times)

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Etymology of "hobby"
« on: November 07, 2004, 03:25:31 AM »
A hobby is something we like to do in our spare time.  But what's the origin of this word "hobby"?

Well, let's take a look at the etymology of "hobby"...

("hQbI) [ME. hobyn, hoby, in OF. hobin, hobi, haubby, whence mod.F. aubin, It. ubino.
   The OFr. was adopted from English, where the word is app. native. In all probability it is the by-name Hobin, Hobby, var. of Robin, Robbie: see Hob n.1 According to Bp. Kennett (1695) Gloss. to Paroch. Antiq. s.v. Hobelers, ‘Our ploughmen to some one of their cart-horses generally give the name of Hobin, the very word which Phil. Comines [a1509] uses, Hist. vi. vii.’ Another by-form of the same name, dobbin, has become a generic name for a cart-horse. Cf. also dicky, donkey, neddy, cuddy, names for the ass.]
   1. A small or middle-sized horse; an ambling or pacing horse; a pony. Now Hist., arch., or dial.
   In early times hobbies are chiefly referred to as of Irish breed; in later times, also, as Welsh or Scotch.

Well bless my cotton socks, "hobby" was a type of horse.  First used by Roman mounted archers with "hobby" horses bred in the Spanish provinces.  The horses were small, agile and able to engage in skirmish...

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Re: Etymology of "hobby"
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2004, 06:01:34 PM »
Check out the dictionary definition of "hobby-horse"

Re: Etymology of "hobby"
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2004, 09:38:41 PM »
Nice tip!  Here's the entry from my dictionary on "hobby-horse"...

[f. hobby n.1 + horse.]
   †1. A kind of horse: = hobby n.1 1. Obs.
   1598 Florio, Vbino, a hobbie horse, such as Ireland breedeth.  1609 Dekker Gvll's Horne-bk. v. (1812) 130 At the doors, with their masters' hobby-horses, to ride to the new play.  1614 B. Jonson Barth. Fair iii. iv. Wks. (Rtldg.) 321/1 A Carroch+ with four pyed hobbyhorses. 

   2. In the morris-dance, and on the stage (in burlesques, pantomimes, etc.), a figure of a horse, made of wickerwork, or other light material, furnished with a deep housing, and fastened about the waist of one of the performers, who executed various antics in imitation of the movements of a skittish or spirited horse; also, the name of this performer in a morris-dance. Hence, to play (the) hobby-horse: also transf. and fig.
   1557 Churchw. Acc. St. Mary's in Coates Hist. Reading (1802) 130 Item, payed to the Mynstrels and the Hobby~horse on May Day 3s.  1569 Nottingham Rec. IV. 132 Gevyn to tow mynstreles, and to them that did play with ye hoby horse, xijd.  1583 Stubbes Anat. Abus. i. (1879) 147 Then haue they their Hobby-horses, dragons and other Antiques.  1599 B. Jonson Ev. Man out of Hum. ii. i. Wks. (Rtldg.) 37/1 'Sblood! you shall see him turn morrice-dancer, he has got him bells, a good suit, and a hobby-horse.  1645 Milton Colast. Wks. (1851) 365 The word Politician is not us'd to his maw, and therupon he plaies the most notorious hobbihors, jesting and frisking in the luxury of his nonsense.  1673 Dryden Epil. Univ. Oxford 14 Your delight Was there to see two hobby-horses fight.  1820 Scott Abbot xiv, He performed the celebrated part of the hobby-horse.  1821 I Kenilw. xxxix, Captain Coxe+executed+a gambade, the like where~of had never been practised by two-legged hobbyhorse. 

   †b. Prov. the hobby-horse is forgot: a phrase app. taken from some old ballad. Obs.
   1588 Shakes. L.L.L. iii. i. 30 Brag. But O, but O. Boy. The Hobbie-horse is forgot.  1600 Kemp Nine Daies Wond. Bijb, With hey and ho, through thicke and thin, the hobby horse quite forgotten.  1602 Shakes. Ham. iii. ii. 142 Else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the Hoby-horsse, whose Epitaph is, For o, For o, the Hoby-horse is forgot.  1603 B. Jonson Satyr Wks. (Rtldg.) 538/2 But see, the hobby~horse is forgot. Fool, it must be your lot, To supply his want with faces, And some other buffoon graces.  1609 Old Meg of Herefordsh. for a Mayd Marian in Halliw. Shaks. Wks. 1855 IV. 286 But looke you, who here comes: John Hunt the hobby-horse, wanting but three of a hundred, 'twere time for him to forget himselfe, and sing, but O, nothing, but O, the hobbie-horse is forgotten.  a1625 Fletcher Women Pleased iv. i, Shall the hobby-horse be forgot then?  1631 T. Drue Dutch. of Suff. Civb (N.), Cl. Answer me, hobbihorse, which way crost he+? Jen. Who do you speake to, sir? We have forgot the hobbihorse. 

   †c. A hobby-horse dance. Obs.
   1670–98 R. Lassels Voy. Italy I. 68 Women like those that danced anciently the Hobby-horse in Country Mummings.  1779 in Brand Pop. Antiq. (1870) I. 285 We are come over the Mire and Moss; We dance an Hobby Horse; A Dragon you shall see, And a wild Worm for to flee. 

   †3. transf.  a. A person who plays ridiculous antics; a frivolous or foolish fellow, jester, buffoon.  b. A lustful person; a loose woman, prostitute.
   1588 Shakes. L.L.L. iii. i. 31 Cal'st thou my loue Hobbi~horse?  1599 I Much Ado iii. ii. 75, I haue studied eight or nine wise words to speake to you, which these hobby-horses must not heare.  1604 I Oth. iv. i. 160.   1609 B. Jonson Sil. Wom. iv. ii. Wks. (Rtldg.) 225/1 What a neighing Hobby-horse is this!  a1616 Beaum. & Fl. Little Fr. Lawyer v. i, Make 'em tame fools and hobby-horses. 

   4. A stick with a horse's head which children bestride as a toy horse.
   1589 Puttenham Eng. Poesie iii. xxiv. (Arb.) 286 King Agesilaus hauing a great sort of little children+tooke a little hobby horse of wood and bestrid it to keepe them in play.  1614 B. Jonson Barth. Fair i. Wks. (Rtldg.) 310/2 Did you all think+that I had changed it in the fair, for hobby~horses?  1632 Sherwood, A (childs) hobbie-horse, baston, ou cheval de bois d'un enfant.  1710 Brit. Apollo III. No. 115. 2/2 A Parcel of Hobby-Horses, Rattles and Penny-Fiddles.  1758 Johnson Idler No. 13 33 She saw lady Fondle's eldest son ride over a carpet with his hobby-horse all mire.  1827 Hone Table-Bk. I. 685 A street seller of hobby-horses—toys for the children of a hundred years ago. 

   b. A wooden horse fixed on a ‘merry-go-round’ at a fair.  c. A rocking-horse for the nursery.
   1741 Gray Let. Poems (1775) 114 A Fair here is not a place where one eats gingerbread or rides upon hobby-horses.  1842 S. C. Hall Ireland II. 340 The merry-go-rounds and hobby-horses ‘crammed’.  1894 T. Hardy Life's Little Ironies 91 The gyrating personages and hobby-horses. 

   †5. = hobby n.1 4. Obs. exc. Hist.
   1819 Gentl. Mag. Feb., A machine denominated the Pedestrian Hobby-horse, invented by a Baron von Drais+has been introduced into this country by a tradesman in Long Acre.  1819 (17 Apr.) Title of Plate Johnson's Pedestrian Hobby-horse Riding School, at 377 Strand.  1819 The Dandy & the Hobbyhorse 10 For this good turn The sweep would ride The hobby horse And Dandy's pride.  1880 Scribner's Mag. Feb. 483 An old farmer+narrated how he had seen the low ‘hobby-horses’ of fifty-nine years ago driven on English roads by thrust of the toes on the ground.  1887 Badm. Libr., Cycling 59 The bicycle of the present day is a descendant in the right line of the ‘dandy’ or ‘hobby horse’ of 1819.  1892 [see dandy-horse]. 

   6. A favourite pursuit or pastime; = hobby n.1 5. Now rare.
   1676 Hale Contempl. i. 201 Almost every person hath some hobby horse or other wherein he prides himself.  1768 F. Burney Early Diary 17 July, I never pretend to be+above having and indulging a Hobby Horse.  a1791 Wesley Serm. lxxxiii. ii. 2 Wks. 1811 IX. 434 Every one has (to use the cant term of the day+) his hobby-horse! Something that pleases the great boy for a few hours.  1817 Coleridge Biog. Lit. 43 Metaphysics and psychology have long been my hobby-horse.  1867 Darwin in Life & Lett. (1887) III. 134, I shall not make so much of my hobby-horse as I thought I could. 

   7. attrib. and Comb., as hobby-horse dance (see sense 2); hobby-horse man, "hobbyhorseman, (a) a man who sells hobby-horses; (b) a man who rode a ‘hobby-horse’ or dandy-horse (see 5); (c) a man who ‘rides a hobby’ (see 6).
   1686 Plot Staffordsh. 434 They had+a sort of sport+call'd the *Hobby-horse dance, from a person that carryed the image of a horse between his leggs, made of thin boards.

  1614 B. Jonson Barth. Fair iv. i, I cannot find my ginger~bread wife nor my *hobby-horse man, in all the Fair now.  1849 Fraser's Mag. XL. 417 Mr. Ellis really abuses these privileges of the hobbyhorseman.  1894 Tablet 27 Oct. 663 Taken up by small sectarians and hobbyhorsemen.


   Hence "hobby-horse v. intr., (a) to play the hobby-horse; (b) to move like a hobby-horse. hobby-"horsical a. (humorous), belonging or devoted to a ‘hobby-horse’ or hobby, crotchety, whimsical; whence hobby-"horsically adv. hobby-"horsiness, devotion to a ‘hobby’.
   1636 W. Sampson Vow Breaker Iiij, Shall the Major put me besides the hobby-horse? let him *hobby-horse at home.  1819 Keats Let. (1935) 315 He is not only reconcil'd to it but hobbyhorses upon it.  1830 J. Savage Hist. Carhampton 583 A singular custom, called ‘Hobby-horsing’ prevails here [Minehead] on every first day of May. A number of young men+having+made some grotesque figures+rudely resembling men, and horses with long tails+perambulate the town+ performing a variety of antics.  1958 M. Pugh Wilderness of Monkeys ii. 22 A sheep started at his cursing and went hobby-horsing down the hill.  1965 Sunday Tel. 19 Sept. 24/7 She started to hobby-horse and at the third bounce in the height of the gust of about 30 knots in went her bows.  1967 Daily Tel. 30 Mar. 18/6 A continual hobby-horsing which stopped it dead about every third wave it hit.

  1761 Sterne Tr. Shandy III. xxii, The generous (tho' *hobby-horsical) gallantry of my uncle.  1893 Blackie in Westm. Gaz. 15 Mar. 9/1 We quarrel a bit—he is so hobby~horsical, you can't avoid it.

  1759 Sterne Tr. Shandy II. v, What he gained *Hobby-Horsically, as a body-servant.  1771 G. Burns in Burns' Wks. (1845) 184 note, Having+become most hobby-horsically attached to the study of medicine.

  1881 Nature XXIV. 161 Practical, and altogether free from *hobby-horsiness.


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Re: Etymology of "hobby"
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2006, 08:33:22 AM »
I found that interesting reading as I come from a German background but we always used the term "hobby horse" which seems to be (if I'm reading correctly) of Roman and later British origin...

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