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[hob-uh l-dee-hoi] /ˈhɒb əl diˌhɔɪ/
an awkward, ungainly youth.
Origin of hobbledehoy
1530-40; variant of hoberdyhoy, alliterative compound, equivalent to hoberd (variant of Roberd Robert) + -y2 + -hoy for boy (b > h for alliteration; see hob2) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hobbledehoy
Historical Examples
  • He greeted her effusively, with a comical mixture of hobbledehoy clumsiness and imperial dignity.

    The Unwilling Vestal Edward Lucas White
  • "Tas the way with them foweners," said the first hobbledehoy sagely.

    The Wonderful Visit Herbert George Wells
  • I never heard such a thing—giving such a hobbledehoy native of this place such an introduction to me as he did.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • A man rarely carries his shyness past the hobbledehoy period.

  • The hobbledehoy plucked his lighted pipe out of his pocket and set his thumb in the bowl.

    Cleg Kelly, Arab of the City S. R. (Samuel Rutherford) Crockett
  • Your hobbledehoy tree of twenty-five years' standing is neither so beautiful as in its infancy, nor so respectable as in its age.

  • The improvement in Fred, from the hobbledehoy of twelve years before, would have been remarked by anybody.

    The Hall and the Grange Archibald Marshall
  • "The hobbledehoy" was wholly unlike anything which had been seen hitherto in Russian literature.

  • Janice, however, never lost her temper with this hobbledehoy cousin.

    Janice Day Helen Beecher Long
  • At fourteen and a quarter Gwen Gascoyne was at a particularly difficult and hobbledehoy stage of her development.

British Dictionary definitions for hobbledehoy


(archaic or dialect) a clumsy or bad-mannered youth
Word Origin
C16: from earlier hobbard de hoy, of uncertain origin
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
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Word Origin and History for hobbledehoy

"clumsy or awkward youth," 1530s, of uncertain origin and the subject of much discussion. First element is probably hob in its sense of "clown, prankster" (see hobgoblin), the second element perhaps is Middle French de haye "worthless, untamed, wild," literally "of the hedge."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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