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 Gone are the opportunities to hobnob at private views or first-night parties. The Economist, "Friends with virtual benefits How arts organisations are rewarding their members in lockdown," 2 June 2020 The creative executives enjoyed much of La Vie de Bohème, hobnobbing with photographers and models, frequenting jazz clubs, possibly smoking an occasional jazz cigarette. Luc Sante, The New York Review of Books, "The Sweet Smell of Hipness," 24 Mar. 2020 In a scene reminiscent of Roger Clemens showing up at Yankee Stadium in May 2007, the once-and-perhaps-future Hurricanes captain was spotted hobnobbing with team owner Tom Dundon during Tuesday night’s game against the Flyers in Raleigh, N.C. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, "Justin Williams’s return to Carolina means he won’t be Bruins’ missing piece," 8 Jan. 2020 Instead of hobnobbing with world leaders in Davos, she is confronted with calls for her to be investigated for criminal corruption and is hotly defending herself on Twitter. Washington Post, "‘África’s Richest Woman’ out of Davos well before report," 20 Jan. 2020 Warren has been particularly outspoken in her criticism of rivals who hobnob with wealthy donors behind closed doors at traditional large-dollar fund-raisers. BostonGlobe.com, "Deval Patrick," 16 Nov. 2019 On a recent morning in the Capitol, Schiff stood stiffly in a corner of an ornate reception room just off the House floor, away from the tumult of his colleagues hobnobbing after a vote. Jason Zengerle, New York Times, "Inside Adam Schiff’s Impeachment Game Plan," 5 Nov. 2019 For Iowans, the growing prominence of the caucuses brought attention, money, and a chance to hobnob with the political class. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Making of the Iowa Caucuses: 20 Minutes That Changed History," 7 Feb. 2020 Maxwell has been photographed over the years hobnobbing with Prince Andrew, the Clintons and Donald Trump. Fox News, "Ghislaine Maxwell not hiding in safe house, says family friend," 9 Jan. 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Hobnob.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobnob. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on hobnob

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hobnob

Nglish: Translation of hobnob for Spanish Speakers

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