hobgoblin

noun hob·gob·lin \ ˈhäb-ˌgäb-lən \

Definition of hobgoblin

1 :a mischievous goblin
2 :bogey 2, bugaboo

hobgoblin was our Word of the Day on 10/31/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of hobgoblin in a Sentence

  1. intimidated by the hobgoblins of etiquette

  2. in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck is a hobgoblin who plays pranks such as spoiling milk and tripping old ladies

Recent Examples of hobgoblin from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hobgoblin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What's the Difference Between a Goblin and a hobgoblin?

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 and Etymology of hobgoblin

hobgoblin Synonyms


HOBGOBLIN Defined for English Language Learners

hobgoblin

noun

Definition of hobgoblin for English Language Learners

  • : an ugly or evil creature that plays tricks in children's stories

  • : something that causes fear or worry


HOBGOBLIN Defined for Kids

hobgoblin

noun hob·gob·lin \ ˈhäb-ˌgä-blən \

Definition of hobgoblin for Students

1 :a mischievous elf
2 :bogey 2


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WORD OF THE DAY

to speak evil of

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