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

Definition of nobby

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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."

First Known Use of nobby

1788, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of nobby was in 1788

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Cite this Entry

“Nobby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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