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Word of the Day
Friday, August 04, 2017

Definitions for hobbyhorse

  1. a pet idea or project.
  2. a stick with a horse's head, or a rocking horse, ridden by children.
  3. a figure of a horse, attached at the waist of a performer in a morris dance, pantomime, etc.

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Citations for hobbyhorse
His face kindled as it only did when the subject of electricity came up. His hobbyhorse, Claire would have said. My dad would have called it his obsession. Stephen King, Revival, 2014
If he had a hobbyhorse, it was that. He loved a garden. Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, 1817
Origin of hobbyhorse
In Middle English one of the meanings of hobby was “small horse, pony” (obsolete except in dialect). By the early 19th century hobby acquired the sense “favorite occupation or amusement,” the current meaning of the word. This last sense of hobby was borrowed from the earlier hobbyhorse, which in the 16th century meant several things, e.g., a figure of a horse made of wicker worn in morris dances, pantomimes, and burlesques; a child’s toy consisting of horse’s head on the end of a stick or a rocking horse; a horse on a merry-go-round or a carousel. By the 17th century hobbyhorse developed the meaning “pet project, favorite pastime.” Hobbyhorse entered English in the 16th century.