hobnail [hob-neyl] ExamplesWord Origin noun

  1. a large-headed nail for protecting the soles of heavy boots and shoes.
  2. a small allover pattern consisting of small tufts, as on fabrics, or of small studs, as on glass.

Origin of hobnail First recorded in 1585–95; hob1 + nail Examples from the Web for hobnail Historical Examples of hobnail

  • It was from no less a person than Mr Hobnail, who had taken a great fancy to him.

    The Three Midshipmen

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • We are conjurors, young Hobnail, said the gentlemen, laughing.

    Joe Miller’s Jests, With Copious Additions


  • Hobnail cutting, late 1830, so often confused with diamond cutting.

    Old Irish Glass

    Graydon Stannus

  • Strawberry cutting, so often confused with hobnail cutting; much used from 1780.

    Old Irish Glass

    Graydon Stannus

  • It is also called in England gin-drinker’s liver, hobnail liver.

    A System of Practical Medicine By American Authors, Vol. II


  • British Dictionary definitions for hobnail hobnail noun

      1. a short nail with a large head for protecting the soles of heavy footwear
      2. (as modifier)hobnail boots

    Derived Formshobnailed, adjectiveWord Origin for hobnail C16: from hob 1 (in the archaic sense: peg) + nail Word Origin and History for hobnail n.

    1590s, the first element probably identical with hob “rounded peg or pin used as a mark or target in games” (1580s), of unknown origin. See hob. Because they were used to make rough shoes, the word was used figuratively for “rustic person” 17c. and after. Related: Hobnailed.

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