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 For many in Trumpworld, the hotel was a place to see and be seen—a bizarro Camelot where Republican lawmakers, conservative elites, and MAGA enthusiasts could cross paths, mingle, and hobnob the night away. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 14 Oct. 2021 The next opportunities to hobnob with the honchos are in November, with Disney chief Bob Chapek scheduled to make an appearance on Nov. 15 and JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon returning to Boston on Nov. 23. BostonGlobe.com, 4 Oct. 2021 But there are still pervasive, sometimes pernicious assumptions about what a music director must look and act like — who can hobnob with donors, who can help sell tickets. New York Times, 4 June 2021 The next time members will be able to hobnob won't be until the end of October, when the winter season kicks off again with the club's annual Halloween party. Kate Bennett, CNN, 19 May 2021 Wealthy contributors to the RNC and other GOP causes are set to gather later this week in Palm Beach to hobnob with top party officials and hear from former President Donald Trump. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, 6 Apr. 2021 Gone are the opportunities to hobnob at private views or first-night parties. The Economist, 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, 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, 8 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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Dictionary Entries Near hobnob

hobnail boot



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Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hobnob.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobnob. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for hobnob



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

Nglish: Translation of hobnob for Spanish Speakers


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