One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in mythology and fairy tales) a mischievous imp or sprite.
imp, sprite, goblin, elf, brownie, pixie, leprechaun, gnome, dwarfView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘In England the hobgoblin was as helpful a sprite as the brownie.’
- ‘His creased brown skin throbbed with muscle, he was a hobgoblin, and failure was unacceptable in goblin society.’
- ‘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 was a time when witches did mischief while spiteful fairies and hobgoblins roamed about.’
- ‘A group of hobgoblins emerged from behind him.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘If people want to believe in tooth fairies, or leprechauns, or hobgoblins, or taniwha, or whatever, it is their right to do that.’
- ‘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.’
- 1.1 A fearsome mythical creature.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Mid 16th century: from hob + goblin.
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