"Hobereau" was, and is, the French for a squire, as in a junior
knight. I assume the French use of it for the bird is short for "the
falcon suitable for a squire" from the days when the type of falcon
you could practise falconry with depended on your social status.
On 7/25/07, brian fleming <> wrote:
> 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.
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