something causing superstitious fear; a bogy.
a mischievous goblin.
(initial capital letter) Puck(def 1).

Origin of hobgoblin

First recorded in 1520–30; hob2 + goblin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hobgoblin

Contemporary Examples of hobgoblin

  • To the speechwriters, he was the hobgoblin of editors, demanding we cram in more statistics, more attacks, more examples.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Rove You Don't Know

    Matt Latimer

    March 9, 2010

Historical Examples of hobgoblin

  • I hardly know what sort of creature or hobgoblin to call them.

    The Gorgon's Head

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Why, Clifton, you imagine that he's a hobgoblin—a sort of wild child of the Highlands.

  • The colonel eyed the wreck of the hobgoblin with satisfaction.

    The Rival Campers Ashore

    Ruel Perley Smith

  • I am not a hobgoblin, though I may pose as one now and then.

    Fernley House

    Laura E. Richards

  • It was really a fish; but it was also a hobgoblin, nightmare, and ooze-croaker!

    The Fall of the Year

    Dallas Lore Sharp

British Dictionary definitions for hobgoblin



an evil or mischievous goblin
a bogey; bugbear

Word Origin for hobgoblin

C16: from hob ² + goblin
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 hobgoblin

1520s, from hob "elf," from Hobbe, a variant of Rob (cf. Hick for Richard, Hodge for Rodger, etc.), short for Robin Goodfellow, elf character in German folklore, + goblin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper