of, relating to, or characteristic of a lawless, irrational, disorderly, or riotous crowd: mob rule; mob instincts.
directed at or reflecting the lowest intellectual level of the common people: mob appeal; the mob mentality.

verb (used with object), mobbed, mob·bing.

Origin of mob

1680–90; short for Latin mōbile vulgus the movable (i.e., changeable, inconstant) common people
Related formsmob·ber, mob·bist, nounmob·bish, adjectivemob·bish·ly, adverbmob·bish·ness, nounmob·bism, nounun·mobbed, adjective


[mob mohb]


Digital Technology. (in a video game) a hostile nonplayer character that the player may target and fight.

Origin of mob

1980–85; coined by British video-game developer Richard Bartle; shortening of mobile(def 10) (in the sense “a moving sculpture hung from the ceiling”) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mobs

Contemporary Examples of mobs

Historical Examples of mobs

  • In masses and mobs they needed kings and rulers but could not choose them.

  • He could see her opposing herself to mobs, but he could not see himself doing so.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • More formidable than mobs were the actions of the town meetings and legislatures.

  • You are here by the law that governs the action of all mobs—the law of Force.

  • Crowds of cattle, like mobs, are strangely subject to some sudden impulse.

    Dwellers in the Hills

    Melville Davisson Post

British Dictionary definitions for mobs


pl n

(usually foll by of) great numbers or quantities; lotsmobs of people


Australian and NZ a great dealmobs better



  1. a riotous or disorderly crowd of people; rabble
  2. (as modifier)mob law; mob violence
often derogatory a group or class of people, animals, or things
Australian and NZ a flock (of sheep) or a herd (of cattle, esp when droving)
often derogatory the masses
slang a gang of criminals

verb mobs, mobbing or mobbed (tr)

to attack in a group resembling a mob
to surround, esp in order to acclaimthey mobbed the film star
to crowd into (a building, plaza, etc)
(of a group of animals of a prey species) to harass (a predator)
See also mobs
Derived Formsmobber, nounmobbish, adjective

Word Origin for mob

C17: shortened from Latin mōbile vulgus the fickle populace; see mobile


abbreviation for

mobile phone
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 mobs



1680s, "disorderly part of the population, rabble," slang shortening of mobile, mobility "common people, populace, rabble" (1670s, probably with a conscious play on nobility), from Latin mobile vulgus "fickle common people" (the phrase attested c.1600 in English), from mobile, neuter of mobilis "fickle, movable, mobile" (see mobile (adj.)). In Australia and New Zealand, used without disparagement for "a crowd." Meaning "gang of criminals working together" is from 1839, originally of thieves or pick-pockets; American English sense of "organized crime in general" is from 1927.

The Mob was not a synonym for the Mafia. It was an alliance of Jews, Italians, and a few Irishmen, some of them brilliant, who organized the supply, and often the production, of liquor during the thirteen years, ten months, and nineteen days of Prohibition. ... Their alliance -- sometimes called the Combination but never the Mafia -- was part of the urgent process of Americanizing crime. [Pete Hamill, "Why Sinatra Matters," 1998]

Mob scene "crowded place" first recorded 1922.



"to attack in a mob," 1709, from mob (n.). Meaning "to form into a mob" is from 1711. Related: Mobbed; mobbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper