Word of the Day – Hobnob

Word of the Day : September 24, 2021


verb HAHB-nahb

What It Means

Hobnob means “to come or be together as friends.”

// Local business owners hobnobbed at the fundraiser.

// The entertainment columnist learns about the latest gossip by hobnobbing with celebrities.

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“Does declaring affection for Tanglewood, the iconic venue in the Berkshires, make me seem like a self-important muckety-muck eager to hobnob with elites from Boston and Manhattan? Well, so be it.” — Chris Churchill, The Times-Union (Albany, New York), 25 July 2021

Did You Know?

In William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Sir Toby Belch warned Viola (who was disguised as a man) that Sir Andrew wanted to duel. “Hob, nob is his word,” said Sir Toby, using “hob, nob” to mean something like “hit or miss.” Sir Toby’s term is probably an alteration of “hab nab,” a phrase that meant “to have or not have, however it may turn out.” After Shakespeare’s day, hob and nob was used in the phrases “to drink hob or nob” and “to drink hobnob,” which meant “to drink alternately to each other.” Since “drinking hobnob” was generally done among friends, hobnob came to refer to congenial social interaction.