• synonyms


[ hob-suh n-job-suh n ]
/ ˈhɒb sənˈdʒɒb sən /


the alteration of a word or phrase borrowed from a foreign language to accord more closely with the phonological and lexical patterns of the borrowing language, as in English hoosegow from Spanish juzgado.

Origin of Hobson-Jobson

1625–35; Indian English rendering of Arabic yā Ḥasan, yā Husayn lament uttered during taʿziyah; an example of such an alteration Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hobson-jobson

British Dictionary definitions for hobson-jobson


/ (ˌhɒbsənˈdʒɒbsən) /


another word for folk etymology

Word Origin for hobson-jobson

C19: Anglo-Indian folk-etymological variant of Arabic yā Hasan! yā Husayn! O Hasan! O Husain! (ritual lament for the grandsons of Mohammed); influenced by the surnames Hobson and Jobson
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 hobson-jobson


1690s, hossen gossen, said to have been British soldiers' mangled Englishing of the Arabic cry they heard at Muharram processions in India, Ya Hasan! Ya Husayn! ("O Hassan! O Husain!"), mourning two grandsons of the Prophet who died fighting for the faith. Title of Yule & Burnell's 1886 glossary of Anglo-Indian words, and taken by linguists in naming the law of Hobson-Jobson, describing the effort to bring a new and strange word into harmony with the language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper