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Hobʹlers or Hovellers

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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 to 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).

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Hobbema
Hobbididance
Hobbinol
Hobbism
Hobbler
Hobby
Hobby-horse
Hobedy-hoig
Hobgoblin
Hobinol
Hoblers or Hovellers
Hobnail
Hob Nob
Hob’s Pound
Hobson’s Choice
Hock
Hock Cart
Hock-day or Hock Tuesday
Hockey
Hocking
Hockley-i-the-Hole