hob·​bit ˈhä-bət How to pronounce hobbit (audio)
: a member of a fictitious peaceful and genial race of small humanlike creatures that dwell underground

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"What is a hobbit?" wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in the 1937 fantasy novel that introduced Mr. Bilbo Baggins. The author then answered himself: "They are (or were) little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves.... There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along...." Tolkien tells us that hobbits "are inclined to be fat," and that they "dress in bright colours"; they "have good-natured faces, and deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner)." Tolkien, a professional linguist who taught at Oxford, coined the word hobbit (and many other terms—in fact, a whole new language) for The Hobbit and for his enormously popular series The Lord of the Rings.

Examples of hobbit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan and Sean Astin — who played the hobbits in Peter Jackson’s three blockbuster films — honored him at a Comic Con event in Liverpool. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 May 2024 In the movies, Bloom, 47, played the elf Legolas, while Wood, 43, played hobbit Frodo Baggins, Monaghan, 47, played hobbit Merry Brandybuck and Boyd, 55, played hobbit Pippin Took. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 4 May 2024 Legolas is taking the hobbits (the hobbits, the hobbits, the hobbits) out to a well-deserved drink! EW.com, 4 May 2024 In the trees towering above the hobbit homes are three custom tree houses built on stilts that are surrounded by greenery. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 31 Jan. 2024 In one, she could be seen surveying several hobbit burrows around her. Brittany Vincent, EW.com, 28 July 2023 With the ring destroyed, and trauma sustained, the triumphant hobbit wakes in his bed. Sara C. Hahn, The New Yorker, 19 Mar. 2024 Two of the Shire’s favorite hobbits reunited at the 2024 SAG Awards. EW.com, 24 Feb. 2024 In her autobiography, Meloni concedes to a lifelong adoration of Tolkien’s works, including dressing as the hobbit Samwise Gamgee with other politically aspirant youth. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hobbit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


coined by J. R. R. Tolkien

First Known Use

1937, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hobbit was in 1937


Dictionary Entries Near hobbit

Cite this Entry

“Hobbit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobbit. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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