What is in a name?

Subject: What is in a name?
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2007 20:31:07 +1000
The word 'Hobby', meaning a pastime or enthusiasm, derives from the obsolete sense of a small road-horse - related to the morris-dancer's and the child's hobby-horse. In "Black Beauty" the kindly Squire, after reproving a neighbour for his treatment of carriage-horses, says "Now I've given my hobby a good trot-out; won't you try him?", meaning "give my system a go".

Apparently the bird has been called 'hobby' since the 1500s. The French word for the bird, hobelar or hobereau, has at times been connected to a similar obsolete word 'hober' meaning to hover, but I believe this is now discounted. No, I have just checked W.B. Lockwoods's 'Dictionary of British Bird Names' (1993), who says 'hober' means to jump about, referring to the bird's well-known agility. A book on falconry (can't recall title or author) said that Hobbies offer fine sport if flown at Skylarks....if you like that sort of thing.. Certainly the Australian Hobby is a very fine dashing raptor and always worth watching. Pity we never see them around Heidelberg any more these days.

Anthea Fleming

Andrew Taylor wrote:

On Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 04:05:16PM +1000, Philip Veerman wrote:
A hobby as in that it is small, maybe considered elegant and attractive
but it does not catch large and useful prey, as distinct from goshawks,
peregrines, eagles, etc. Hence for fun or frivolity, a hobby, rather
than serious sport or culinary hunting.

Sounds good, but most etymologies seem to have hobby (falcon)
coming from French not hobby (pastime).

I hope Trevor doesn't abolish merlin & kestrel as well.


To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message: unsubscribe (in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU