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[nob-uh l]
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verb (used with object), nob·bled, nob·bling. British Slang.
  1. to drug or disable (a race horse) to prevent its winning a race.
  2. to convince (a person) by fraudulent methods; misrepresent or lie to.
  3. to swindle; defraud.
  4. to seize (a person); hold for arrest.
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Origin of nobble

1840–50; back formation from nobbler, variant of hobbler (dial. phrase an 'obbler being taken as a nobbler)
Related formsnob·bler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for nobbling

Historical Examples

  • Their first success was the nobbling of "The Observer's" senior reporter.

    Grey Town

    Gerald Baldwin

  • I'm not sorry for it myself, as I've an idea of nobbling him for Vera.

    The Graftons

    Archibald Marshall

  • A sight of times better to be selling diments than nobbling about here.

  • He is very musical, and when he and Rex get nobbling over the piano and organ—there they stick!!

  • Peter mumbled some foolishness about nobbling Angola for Germany and starting a revolution among the natives.


    John Buchan

British Dictionary definitions for nobbling


verb (tr) British slang
  1. to disable (a racehorse), esp with drugs
  2. to win over or outwit (a person) by underhand means
  3. to suborn (a person, esp a juror) by threats, bribery, etc
  4. to steal; filch
  5. to get hold of; grab
  6. to kidnap
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Derived Formsnobbler, noun

Word Origin

C19: back formation from nobbler, from false division of an hobbler (one who hobbles horses) as a nobbler
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