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late 13c., hobyn, "small horse, pony," later "mock horse used in the morris dance," and c.1550 "child's toy riding horse," which led to hobby-horse in a transferred sense of "favorite pastime or avocation," first recorded 1670s, shortened to hobby by 1816. The connecting notion being "activity that doesn't go anywhere." Probably originally a proper name for a horse (cf. dobbin), a diminutive 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.
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