[hob-uh l-dee-hoi]


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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hobbledehoy

Historical Examples of hobbledehoy

  • But what I can't understand is why you should be so sorry for a hobbledehoy like that.

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete

    Martin Anderson Nexo

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

    Janice Day

    Helen Beecher Long

  • "Tas the way with them foweners," said the first hobbledehoy sagely.

    The Wonderful Visit

    Herbert George Wells

  • Aye, and have ever since she was in pinafores, and I a hobbledehoy in Master Wytheby's school.

  • A man rarely carries his shyness past the hobbledehoy period.

British Dictionary definitions for hobbledehoy



archaic, or dialect a clumsy or bad-mannered youth

Word Origin for hobbledehoy

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

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