• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. a projection or shelf at the back or side of a fireplace, used for keeping food warm.
  2. a rounded peg or pin used as a target in quoits and similar games.
  3. a game in which such a peg is used.
  4. Machinery. a milling cutter for gear and sprocket teeth, splines, threads, etc., having helically arranged teeth and fed across the work as the work is rotated.
verb (used with or without object), hobbed, hob·bing.
  1. Machinery. to cut with a hob.

Origin of hob1

1505–15; variant of obsolete hub hob (in a fireplace); perhaps identical with hub
Related formshob·ber, noun


  1. a hobgoblin or elf.
  1. play hob with, to do mischief or harm to: The child played hob with my radio, and now it won't work at all.
  2. raise hob, to cause a destructive commotion; behave disruptively: They raised such hob with their antagonistic questions that the meeting broke up.

Origin of hob2

1275–1325; Middle English, special use of Hob, for Robert or Robin
Related formshob·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hob

Historical Examples

  • There was a kettle on the hob, as there had been night and day for fifteen years.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Shan't I be glad when I get richer and better known, and hob and nob with him!'

  • The fire was burning brightly, and the kettle was singing on the hob.

  • His tea was ready for him on the hob, and they all tried who should help him to it most.

  • The kettle will be coming soon to sing on the hob: and that will do nearly as well.


    Harriet Martineau

British Dictionary definitions for hob


  1. British the flat top part of a cooking stove, or a separate flat surface, containing hotplates or burners
  2. a shelf beside an open fire, for keeping kettles, etc, hot
  3. a steel pattern used in forming a mould or die in cold metal
  4. a hard steel rotating cutting tool used in machines for cutting gears
verb hobs, hobbing or hobbed
  1. (tr) to cut or form with a hob

Word Origin

C16: variant of obsolete hubbe, of unknown origin; perhaps related to hub


  1. a hobgoblin or elf
  2. a male ferret
  3. raise hob or play hob US informal to cause mischief or disturbance
Derived Formshoblike, adjective

Word Origin

C14: variant of Rob, short for Robin or Robert
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hob


"side of fireplace," 1670s, alteration of hubbe (1510s), of unknown origin, perhaps somehow related to the first element in hobnail.



"clown, prankster," short for hobgoblin (q.v.). Hence, to play (the) hob "make mischief" (by 1834).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper