nob·​by | \ ˈnä-bē How to pronounce nobby (audio) \
nobbier; nobbiest

Definition of nobby

: chic, smart

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Did You Know?

Nobby comes from the noun "nob," which is used in British English to mean "one in a superior position in life." ("Nob" may have begun as a slang word for "head," but etymologists aren't completely sure. A possible connection to "noble" has been suggested as well.) Appearing in English in 1788, "nobby" was first used to describe people of strikingly exquisite appearance. It has since extended in usage to describe the places frequented by such people, as well as their genteel customs. Charles Dickens, for example, wrote in Bleak House (1853) of "[r]especting this unfortunate family matter, and the nobbiest way of keeping it quiet."

Examples of nobby in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Khinkali, the fat, nobby pouches of lamb or minced beef and pork in broth (three for $8-$10) are a distant relative to Shanghai-style soup dumplings, and are meant to be similarly nibbled and slurped before eating. oregonlive, "Portland’s 40 best inexpensive restaurants," 11 Mar. 2020

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

First Known Use of nobby

1788, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Nobby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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