hob·​nob | \ ˈhäb-ˌnäb How to pronounce hobnob (audio) \
hobnobbed; hobnobbing

Definition of hobnob

intransitive verb

1 archaic : to drink sociably
2 : to associate familiarly

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Other Words from hobnob

hobnobber noun

Hobnob and Shakespeare

Hob and nob first came together in print in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, when Sir Toby Belch warns Viola (who is disguised as a man) that Sir Andrew wants to duel. "Hob, nob is his word," says Sir Toby, using hob and nob to mean something like "hit or miss." Sir Toby's words are probably from the term habnab (also styled as a phrase: hab or nab), which meant "in one way or another" or "however it may turn out." After Shakespeare's day, hob and nob became established in the phrase to drink hobnob (also styled as to drink hob or nob), which meant "to drink alternately to each other." Since "drinking hobnob" was generally done among friends, hobnob came to refer to congenial social interaction.

Examples of hobnob in a Sentence

He loves to hobnob with celebrities. those two have been hobnobbing together since freshman year
Recent Examples on the Web Different clubs specialized in different clientele: The diplomats would mingle at the St James Club, artists and impresarios could be found hobnobbing at the Garrick and politicians would network at the Carlton or the Reform Club. Suyin Haynes, Time, "The Wing Is Opening Its First International Space in London. Here's What's Behind the Revival of the City's Private Members' Clubs," 22 Oct. 2019 South Florida hotels are filling up fast, prices are rising toward the nose bleed section and home sharing appears to be the best alternative for consumers who don’t hobnob with the rich and famous. David Lyons, sun-sentinel.com, "Homeowners wanted: Airbnb seeks Super Bowl 2020 hosts, but they’ll need to work hard for the money.," 11 Oct. 2019 After invading in 1940, the Nazi hierarchy ensconced themselves in Paris’s luxury hotels and hobnobbed at theaters and fine restaurants. Elaine Ganley, BostonGlobe.com, "Paris celebrats its liberation from the Nazis 75 years ago," 25 Aug. 2019 Luongo is hobnobbing with scouts to learn about draft-eligible prospects. BostonGlobe.com, "Boston College coach Jerry York a worthy Hall of Famer - The Boston Globe," 16 Nov. 2019 For nonprofits that rely on fundraising, their boards are often willing to pay top dollar for executives who can hobnob with wealthy prospective donors and convince them to reach for their purse or wallet. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Southeast Michigan nonprofit CEO pay has jumped. Here's why," 23 Aug. 2019 Politicians often visit local employers during their breaks, something that allows them to hobnob with constituents, learn more about the company and promote their agenda. Jay Greene, Washington Post, "Amazon’s strategy to win over congressional critics: tours of its giant warehouses," 22 Aug. 2019 Epstein, 66, was a hedge fund manager who hobnobbed with the rich, famous and influential, including presidents and a prince. Jim Mustian, The Denver Post, "Jeffrey Epstein: How he died and what it means for his accusers," 11 Aug. 2019 Jeffrey Epstein has hobnobbed with some of the world's most powerful people during his jet-setting life. CBS News, "Labor Secretary Alex Acosta under new scrutiny after Epstein arrest," 9 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of hobnob

1813, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hobnob

from the obsolete phrase drink hobnob to drink alternately to one another

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Time Traveler for hobnob

Time Traveler

The first known use of hobnob was in 1813

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Statistics for hobnob

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hobnob.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobnob?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=h&file=hobnob01. Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for hobnob


How to pronounce hobnob (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hobnob

: to spend time with someone (such as a famous or wealthy person) in a friendly way

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More from Merriam-Webster on hobnob

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hobnob

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hobnob

Spanish Central: Translation of hobnob

Nglish: Translation of hobnob for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hobnob

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


to constrict the range or activity of

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