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

intransitive verb

archaic : to drink sociably
: to associate familiarly
hobnobber noun

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Hobnob and Shakespeare

In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Sir Toby Belch warned Viola (who was disguised as a man) that Sir Andrew wanted to duel. "Hob, nob is his word," said Sir Toby, using "hob, nob" to mean something like "hit or miss." Sir Toby's term is probably an alteration of "hab nab," a phrase that meant "to have or not have, however it may turn out." After Shakespeare's day, hob and nob were used in the phrases "to drink hob or nob" and "to drink hobnob," 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 Emma Stone seemed to be hobnobbing more than most A-listers. Nate Jones, Vulture, 17 Feb. 2024 The powerful Working Families Party, which is backing Bowman in what is shaping to be a tough primary fight, also trashed Latimer for hobnobbing with Trump fans. Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News, 18 Jan. 2024 For its latest cover model, Vogue Germany selected a celebrity who regularly hobnobs with visiting dignitaries and walks the red carpet at film premieres: Margot Friedländer, 102, one of the oldest and most prominent Holocaust survivors in the world. Philissa Cramer, Sun Sentinel, 20 June 2024 Gabe Kaminsky - March 9, 2024 5:00 am Biden judicial pick hobnobbed with anti-Israel activists at event sponsored by... 1...8910... Gabe Kaminsky, The Washington Examiner, 17 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for hobnob 

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1813, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hobnob was in 1813


Dictionary Entries Near hobnob

Cite this Entry

“Hobnob.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobnob. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


hob·​nob ˈhäb-ˌnäb How to pronounce hobnob (audio)
hobnobbed; hobnobbing
: to associate in a friendly manner
hobnobbing with politicians
hobnobber noun

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