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 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 Mr Bolton doubtless did not like the idea of giving away the symbolic honour of hobnobbing with America’s president while receiving nothing in return, bar a promise to keep talking. The Economist, "Who would dare to speak for Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump?," 4 July 2019 Richardson only showed up once that the students were aware of, to publicly hobnob with Queen Noor of Jordan and Greece’s Prince Pavlos in advance of his gubernatorial run. Matt Farwell, The New Republic, "Jeffrey Epstein Chose New Mexico for a Reason," 15 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 In the film, the couple is shown hobnobbing with the stars of late 1960s Hollywood, including actor Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis) and singer Mama Cass (Rachel Redleaf). Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "The True Story Behind Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," 26 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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Statistics for hobnob

Last Updated

23 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for hobnob

The first known use of hobnob was in 1813

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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

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to spread as a report or rumor

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