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[hob-gob-lin] /ˈhɒbˌgɒb lɪn/
something causing superstitious fear; a bogy.
a mischievous goblin.
(initial capital letter) Puck (def 1).
Origin of hobgoblin
1520-30; hob2 + goblin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hobgoblin
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Historical Examples
  • There is a hobgoblin called Ben in the room—a sort of lubber fiend who loves to play pranks on people.

    The Celebrity at Home Violet Hunt
  • The hobgoblin is one of the widest-spread forms of fairy belief.

    Fiends, Ghosts, and Sprites John Nettin Radcliffe
  • By way of preliminary, I may ask whether his past antecedents show him to be a statesman of this hobgoblin type?

  • Why, were he demon or hobgoblin, he could not stand alone against many.

    The N Plays of Japan Arthur Waley
  • With what superstitious dread you looked cautiously around, expecting a hobgoblin at any moment to rise out of the ground?

  • May we not have the precise height of this hobgoblin, in inches and fractions?

    Wilderness of Spring Edgar Pangborn
  • I hardly know what sort of creature or hobgoblin to call them.

    The Gorgon's Head Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • hobgoblin (Hop-goblin) was so called because he hopped on one leg.

    Brownies and Bogles Louise Imogen Guiney
  • Hugo Montfort is no hobgoblin ghost in a white sheet, with a pumpkin head!

    Three Margarets Laura E. Richards
British Dictionary definitions for hobgoblin


an evil or mischievous goblin
a bogey; bugbear
Word Origin
C16: from hob² + goblin
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
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Word Origin and History for hobgoblin

1520s, from hob "elf," from Hobbe, a variant of Rob (cf. Hick for Richard, Hodge for Rodger, etc.), short for Robin Goodfellow, elf character in German folklore, + goblin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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