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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hobbledehoy \Hob"ble*de*hoy`\, Hobbletehoy \Hob"ble*te*hoy`\, n. [Written also hobbetyhoy, hobbarddehoy, hobbedehoy, hobdehoy.] [ Cf. Prob. E. hobbledygee with a limping movement; also F. hobereau, a country squire, E. hobby, and OF. hoi to-day; perh. the orig. sense was, an upstart of to-day.] A youth between boy and man; an awkward, gawky young fellow .

All the men, boys, and hobbledehoys attached to the farm.
--Dickens. .

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"clumsy or awkward youth," 1530s, of uncertain origin and the subject of much discussion. First element is probably hob in its sense of "clown, prankster" (see hobgoblin), the second element perhaps is Middle French de haye "worthless, untamed, wild," literally "of the hedge."


n. An awkward adolescent boy.


n. an awkward bad-mannered adolescent boy

Usage examples of "hobbledehoy".

In the centre of the main hall, Charity Exmouth stood wrapt in admiration before the pageant tower, with her hobbledehoy son prancing sycophantically at her side.

And Motherdear was not so hobbledehoy that he did not recognize blackmail when he heard it, however sweetly phrased.

The jokers, who from their dress were hobbledehoy yeomen or small squires, were thus encouraged to continue, and, being apparently well on the way to drunkenness, were not disposed to consider risks.

He felt himself to be crude, ignorant, callow, a blundering hobbledehoy who sought to match himself against the cunning of grown and desperate men.

But, Elena, can you picture how hard it is to apply that doctrine to living individuals, to Briun and Jeana, eager hobbledehoy Rodj and little, trusting Dorthy?

The slouching hobbledehoy lads, the girls, some comely and high-coloured, some waxen white--they were civil and decent, but impenetrable.

But I am sure that the tendency nowadays is, somehow or other, to prolong the hobbledehoy days.

And there had been this young hobbledehoy from Canvey Island there with his mates, and they had been Mods Ivy-shop loafers, parkas, the whole business.

In the throng at the door there were horse-boys and labourers and better-clad hobbledehoys who might have been the sons of yeomen.

It must be some of those hobbledehoys from the village sneaking about to see what they could thieve .

Scarlet Hedge served, so his uncle said, to protect the Princess in her vulnerable sleep from casual interlopers, hobbledehoys, and sightseers.

You found it among the young Bolshevik Jews, among the young gentry of the wilder Communist sects, and very notably among the sullen murderous hobbledehoys in Ireland.

This delightful spot exists for the satisfaction of a small society of Fellows who, having no dreary instruction to administer, no noisy hobbledehoys to govern, no obligations but toward their own culture, no care save for learning as learning and truth as truth, are presumably the happiest and most charming people in the world.

The hobbledehoys sit with a spilling cup in one hand and a biscuit in the other, gaping at the Countess in her satin finery as she pours from a silver pot and chatters distractedly to put them at their fatal ease.

You are no doubt asking yourself why I am concerned about a handful of unlettered hobbledehoys whose ancestors have been diverting themselves with rebellions for five hundred years.