One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A short heavy-headed nail used to reinforce the soles of boots.
- ‘Adults had hobnailed shoes, but hobnails were not found with children so they were bare-foot or wore un-nailed shoes.’
- ‘A block away we hear the rumble of hobnails on cobblestone.’
- ‘When Douglas Hadow's boots were examined, it was found that the hobnails on their soles were worn almost smooth.’
- ‘Of the other material categories, footwear is as likely to be absent as present - although without hobnails and suitable conditions for preservation, we cannot be certain about frequency.’
- ‘Leather shoes lasted no time at all without hobnails, and conversely, floors, whether of stone or wood, lasted no time at all without matting of some sort.’
- 1.1 A blunt projection, especially in cut or moulded glassware.
- ‘Although particularly heavy, the bowl has a dainty design with a distinctive star-shaped base and a wealth of intricate engravings - various sunbursts panels are divided by parallel prisms from hobnail diamond panels.’
- 1.2mass noun Glass decorated with blunt projections.
Late 16th century: from hob + nail.
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