verb (used without object), hob·nobbed, hob·nob·bing.

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

Related Words for hobnob

fraternize, consort, socialize, mix, mingle, pal

Examples from the Web for hobnob

Historical Examples of hobnob

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for hobnob


verb -nobs, -nobbing or -nobbed (intr often foll by with)

to socialize or talk informally
obsolete to drink (with)

Word Origin for hobnob

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

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