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[hob-nob] /ˈhɒbˌnɒb/
verb (used without object), hobnobbed, hobnobbing.
to associate on very friendly terms (usually followed by with):
She often hobnobs with royalty.
Archaic. to drink together.
a friendly, informal chat.
Origin of hobnob
1595-1605; from the phrase hab or nab literally, have or have not, Old English habban to have + nabban not to have (ne not + habban to have) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hobnob
Historical Examples
  • He'd not turn from the duty intrusted to him to hobnob with a Prince of the Blood.

  • Again I am struck by the familiar way in which the Russians hobnob with the Mongols.

    A Wayfarer in China Elizabeth Kendall
  • You would not wish to insult me by refusing to hobnob with me?

    The Red Track Gustave Aimard
  • Here on the road they are as good as any; they hobnob with the rose.

    In the Open Stanton Davis Kirkham
  • How odd it is that the Joyeuses should care to hobnob with demi-castors.

    The Monster

    Edgar Saltus
  • Jacinto Quesada had not stopped in passing to hobnob with the Gypsies.

    The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey
  • To go and hobnob with the Chambannes and their friends, that would be the last straw!

    Two banks of the Seine Fernand Vandrem
  • Do I hobnob with all the half-starved limners in Fleet Street?

    Jewel Mysteries Max Pemberton
  • It means you'll have to hobnob with Eurasian clerks and their wives.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • You were half-drunk when you and Perley began to hobnob over a downtown bar.

British Dictionary definitions for hobnob


verb -nobs, -nobbing, -nobbed (intransitive) often foll by with
to socialize or talk informally
(obsolete) to drink (with)
Word Origin
C18: from hob or nob to drink to one another in turns, hence, to be familiar, ultimately from Old English habban to have + nabban not to have
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 hobnob

1763, "to drink to each other," from hob and nob (1756) "to toast each other by turns, to buy alternate rounds of drinks," from c.1550 hab nab "to have or have not, hit or miss," probably ultimately from Old English habban, nabban "have, not have," with the negative particle ne- attached, as was customary. Modern sense of "socialize" is 1866. Related: Hobnobbed; hobnobbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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