Simple Definition of hobgoblin
: an ugly or evil creature that plays tricks in children's stories
: something that causes fear or worry
Examples of hobgoblin in a sentence
intimidated by the hobgoblins of etiquette
<in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck is a hobgoblin who plays pranks such as spoiling milk and tripping old ladies>
Did You Know?
While a goblin is traditionally regarded in folklore as a grotesque, evil, and malicious creature, a hobgoblin tends to be more about creating mischief. (The character of Puck from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream might be regarded as one.) First appearing in English in 1530, hobgoblin combined goblin with hob, a word meaning "sprite" or "elf" that derived from Hobbe, a nickname for Robert. Goblin derived via Middle English and Medieval Latin from the Greek word kobalos, meaning "rogue." The American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson famously applied the word's extended sense in his essay Self-Reliance: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Origin of hobgoblin
First Known Use: 1530
HOBGOBLIN Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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