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1570s, from French hautbois "high wood" (15c.; see oboe). The "high" is haut in its secondary sense of "high-pitched." Frequently nativized as hoboy.
This Pageaunt waz clozd vp with a delectable harmony of Hautboiz, Shalmz, Coronets, and such oother looud muzik. [Robert Laneham, 1575]