1 [hob-ee]
noun, plural hobbies.
an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation: Her hobbies include stamp-collecting and woodcarving.
a child's hobbyhorse.
Archaic. a small horse.
ride a hobby, to concern oneself excessively with a favorite notion or activity. Also, ride a hobbyhorse.

1325–75; Middle English hoby(n), probably for Robin, or Robert (cf. hob2), used as horse's name, as in dobbin

hobbyist, noun
hobbyless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged


2 [hob-ee]
noun, plural hobbies.
a small Old World falcon, Falco subbuteo, formerly flown at such small game as larks.

1400–50; late Middle English hoby < Middle French hobé, suffixal variant of Middle French, Old French hobel (compare French hobereau), probably noun derivative of hobeler to skirmish, harass, perhaps < Middle Dutch hob(b)elen to turn, roll; compare Dutch hobbelen to rock, jolt (cf. hobble)


Oveta Culp [kuhlp] , 1905–1995, U.S. newspaper publisher and government official: first director of Women's Army Corps 1942–45; first Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare 1953–55.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To hobby
World English Dictionary
hobby1 (ˈhɒbɪ)
n , pl -bies
1.  an activity pursued in spare time for pleasure or relaxation
2.  archaic, dialect or a small horse or pony
3.  short for hobbyhorse
4.  an early form of bicycle, without pedals
[C14 hobyn, probably variant of proper name Robin; compare dobbin]

hobby2 (ˈhɒbɪ)
n , pl -bies
any of several small Old World falcons, esp the European Falco subbuteo, formerly used in falconry
[C15: from Old French hobet, from hobe falcon; probably related to Middle Dutch hobbelen to roll, turn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1298, "small horse, pony," later "mock horse used in the morris dance," and c.1550 "child's toy riding horse," which led to a transferred sense of "favorite pastime or avocation," first recorded 1676. The connecting notion being "activity that doesn't go anywhere." Probably originally a proper name for
a horse (cf. dobbin), a dim. of Robert or Robin. The original hobbyhorse was a "Tourney Horse," a wooden or basketwork frame worn around the waist and held on with shoulder straps, with a fake tail and horse head attached, so the wearer appears to be riding a horse. These were part of church and civic celebrations at Midsummer and New Year's throughout England.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


any of certain birds of prey of the genus Falco (primarily F. subbuteo) that are intermediate in size and strength between the merlin and the peregrine. F. subbuteo is about 33 cm (13 inches) long and is dark bluish brown above and white below, with dark streaking and reddish leg feathering. It breeds in Europe, northwestern Africa, the Middle East except Arabia, and all of sub-Arctic and temperate Asia. It inhabits open country near woodlands, where it captures small birds and large insects. Similar species are the African hobby (F. cuvierii), the sooty falcon (F. concolor) of eastern Africa, and the Oriental hobby (F. severus) of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific

Learn more about hobby with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences for hobby
Someone who builds tesla coils as a hobby is called a coiler.
Now, he makes a hobby out of shrinking monsters so they become tiny.
Stamp collecting is the extremely popular hobby of collecting postage stamps.
A booklover and antiquarian, he made a special hobby of heraldry and genealogy.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature