ride a hobbyhorse

hobby

1 [hob-ee]
noun, plural hobbies.
1.
an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation: Her hobbies include stamp-collecting and woodcarving.
2.
a child's hobbyhorse.
3.
Archaic. a small horse.
Idioms
4.
ride a hobby, to concern oneself excessively with a favorite notion or activity. Also, ride a hobbyhorse.

Origin:
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
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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]
 
'hobbyist1
 
n

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
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

hobby
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
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