One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in mythology and fairy stories) a mischievous imp or sprite.
imp, sprite, goblin, elf, brownie, pixie, leprechaun, gnome, dwarfView synonyms
- ‘If people want to believe in tooth fairies, or leprechauns, or hobgoblins, or taniwha, or whatever, it is their right to do that.’
- ‘In England the hobgoblin was as helpful a sprite as the brownie.’
- ‘It is so lovely to view the sweet innocence of the ghouls and hobgoblins who visit our thresholds, calling out ‘trick or treat’, often accompanied by imaginative verse of their own making.’
- ‘It is a time when the very mention of witches, gnomes, hobgoblins and ogres is enough to conjure up a fantasy world populated with a multitude of such creatures.’
- ‘A group of hobgoblins emerged from behind him.’
- ‘His creased brown skin throbbed with muscle, he was a hobgoblin, and failure was unacceptable in goblin society.’
- ‘It was a time when witches did mischief while spiteful fairies and hobgoblins roamed about.’
- ‘A romantic historical account, it told of a hobgoblin, the ugliest of his maligned kindred but valorous of heart, who fell in love with a beautiful princess of Ilnumin, one of the fallen cities of the moon elves of the Elven Age.’
- ‘Though Mr McCallum does admit, and even provide evidence for, the existence of hobgoblins and faeries.’
- ‘Gaffle turned round and stared at the oncoming horde of hobgoblins.’
- 1.1 A fearsome mythical creature.
- ‘Imagination, then plays upon our fears when there is feeble light, making us see ghouls and hobgoblins in every shadow that moves.’
- ‘By the time the hobgoblins and ghouls are out and about on the 31st it is rising less than four hours after sunset.’
- ‘But I wasn't about to stand up to a rampaging bunch of hobgoblins anyway.’
- ‘In his childhood Martin was afraid of the dark, of ghosts and hobgoblins, and his fear of attack by the threatening unknown later came to surface in his art.’
Mid 16th century: from hob + goblin.
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