Hobinol to Hogmanay', Hogmena'
Hoblers or Hovellers. Men who keep a light nag that they may give instant information of threatened
invasion, or ugly customers at sea. (Old French, hober, to move up and down; our hobby, q.v.) In mediæval
times hoblers were like the German uhlands. Their duties were to reconnoitre, to carry intelligence, to
harass stragglers, to act as spies, to intercept convoys, and to pursue fugitives. Spelman derives the
word from hobby.
"Hobblers were another description of cavalry more lightly armed, and taken from the class of men rated at 15 pounds and upwards." - Lingard: History of England, vol. iv. chap. ii. p. 116.
"Sentinels who kept watch at beacons in the Isle of Wight, and ran to the governor when they had any intelligence to communicate, were called hoblers." - MS. Lansd. (1033).Hobnail When the London sheriff is sworn in, the tenants of a manor in Shropshire are directed to come forth and do service, whereupon the senior alderman below the chair steps forward and chops a stick, in token that the tenants of this county supplied their feudal lord with fuel.
The owners of a forge in St. Clements are then called forth to do suit and service, when an officer of the court produces six horse-shoes and sixty-one hobnails, which he used to count before the cursitor baron till that office was abolished in 1857.
Hob Nob A corruption of hab nab, meaning "have or not have," hence hit or miss, at random; and, secondarily,
give or take, whence also an open defiance. A similar construction to willy nilly. (Anglo-Saxon, habban,
to have; nabban, not to have.)
"The citizens in their rage shot habbe or nabbe [hit or miss] at random." - Holinshed: History of Ireland.
"He writes of the weather hab nab [at random], and as the toy [fancy] takes him, chequers the year with foul and fair." - Quack Astrologer (1673).
"He is a devil in private brawls ... hob nob is his word, give 't or take 't." - Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, iii. 4.
"Not of Jack Straw, with his rebellious crew,Hob's Pound To be in Hob's pound is to be under difficulties, in great embarrassment. Hob is a clownish rustic, and hoberd is a fool or ne'er-do-well. To be in Hob's pound is to be in the pound of a hob or hoberd - i.e. paying for one's folly.
Hobson's Choice This or none. Tobias Hobson was a carrier and innkeeper at Cambridge, who erected
the handsome conduit there, and settled "seven lays" of pasture ground towards its maintenance. "He
kept a stable of forty good cattle, always ready and fit for travelling; but when a man came for a horse
he was led into the stable, where there was great choice, but was obliged to take the horse which stood
nearest to the stable-door; so that every customer was alike well served, according to his chance, and
every horse ridden with the same justice." (Spectator, No. 509.)
"Why is the greatest of free communities reduced to Hobson's choice?" - The Times.Hock So called from Hockheim, on the Maine, where the best is supposed to be made. It used to be called hockamore (3 syl.).
"As unfit to bottle as old hockamore." - Mortimer.Hock Cart The high cart, the last cart-load of harvest.
"The harvest swains and wenches boundHock-day or Hock Tuesday. The day when the English surprised and slew the Danes, who had annoyed them for 255 years. This Tuesday was long held as a festival in England, and landlords received an annual tribute called Hock-money, for allowing their tenants and serfs to commemorate
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