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[hob-suh n-job-suh n] /ˈhɒb sənˈdʒɒb sən/
the alteration of a word or phrase borrowed from a foreign language to accord more closely with the phonological and lexical patterns of the borrowing language, as in English hoosegow from Spanish juzgado.
1625-35; Indian English rendering of Arabic yā Ḥasan, yā Husayn lament uttered during taʿziyah; an example of such an alteration Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for hobsonjobson


another word for folk etymology
Word Origin
C19: Anglo-Indian folk-etymological variant of Arabic yā Hasan! yā Husayn! O Hasan! O Husain! (ritual lament for the grandsons of Mohammed); influenced by the surnames Hobson and Jobson
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for hobsonjobson


1690s, hossen gossen, said to have been British soldiers' mangled Englishing of the Arabic cry they heard at Muharram processions in India, Ya Hasan! Ya Husayn! ("O Hassan! O Husain!"), mourning two grandsons of the Prophet who died fighting for the faith. Title of Yule & Burnell's 1886 glossary of Anglo-Indian words, and taken by linguists in naming the law of Hobson-Jobson, describing the effort to bring a new and strange word into harmony with the language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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