noun hob·by·horse \ˈhä-bē-ˌhȯrs\

Definition of hobbyhorse

  1. 1a :  a figure of a horse fastened about the waist in the morris danceb :  a dancer wearing this figure

  2. 2 obsolete :  buffoon

  3. 3a :  a stick having an imitation horse's head at one end that a child pretends to rideb :  rocking horsec :  a toy horse suspended by springs from a frame

  4. 4a :  a topic to which one constantly revertsb :  2hobby

hobbyhorse was our Word of the Day on 07/12/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of hobbyhorse in a sentence

  1. Once he gets on his hobbyhorse and starts talking about taxes, you can't get him to discuss anything else.

  2. She's been riding that hobbyhorse for months.

Did You Know?

The hobbyhorse is a toy of yesteryear, dating back to a homespun era predating automobiles. In the 1400s, the word hobby could refer to a real-life horse of small or average size. It soon came to refer to the horse costume worn by one participating in a morris dance or burlesque performance, and then, later, to the child's toy. Another meaning of hobbyhorse was "a favorite pursuit or pastime"; our modern noun hobby ("an activity that one does for pleasure when not working") was formed by shortening this word. From "pastime," the meaning of hobbyhorse was extended to "a subject to which one repeatedly returns." The sense is typically encountered as part of such metaphorical phrases as "get on one's hobbyhorse" or "ride one's hobbyhorse."

Origin and Etymology of hobbyhorse

hobby small light horse, from Middle English hoby, hobyn, perhaps from Hobbin, nickname for Robert or Robin

First Known Use: circa 1553

HOBBYHORSE Defined for English Language Learners


noun hob·by·horse \ˈhä-bē-ˌhȯrs\

Definition of hobbyhorse for English Language Learners

  • : a subject that someone speaks about or complains about often

  • : a stick with a horse's head at one end that a child pretends to ride

HOBBYHORSE Defined for Kids


noun hob·by·horse \ˈhä-bē-ˌhȯrs\

Definition of hobbyhorse for Students

  1. :  a stick that has an imitation horse's head and that a child pretends to ride

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hobbyhorse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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