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

Definition of nobby

: chic, smart

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 the 18th century, nobby was first used to describe people in society's upper echelons. 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, 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

Learn More About nobby

Listen to Our Podcast About nobby

Dictionary Entries Near nobby




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for nobby

Cite this Entry

“Nobby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on nobby

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nobby


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!