Hobbit


Hobbit
Hobbit 1937, coined in the fantasy tales of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973).
On a blank leaf I scrawled: 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' I did not and do not know why. [Tolkien, letter to W.H. Auden, dated 1955]
The word also turns up in a very long list of folkloric supernatural creatures in the writings of Michael Aislabie Denham (d.1859), printed in volume 2 of "The Denham Tracts" [ed. James Hardy, London: Folklore Society, 1895], a compilation of Denham's scattered publications. Denham was an early folklorist who concentrated on Northumberland, Durham, Westmoreland, Cumberland, the Isle of Man, and Scotland.
What a happiness this must have been seventy or eighty years ago and upwards, to those chosen few who had the good luck to be born on the eve of this festival of all festivals; when the whole earth was so overrun with ghosts, boggles, bloody-bones, spirits, demons, ignis fatui, brownies, bugbears, black dogs, specters, shellycoats, scarecrows, witches, wizards, barguests, Robin-Goodfellows, hags, night-bats, scrags, breaknecks, fantasms, hobgoblins, hobhoulards, boggy-boes, dobbies, hob-thrusts, fetches, kelpies, warlocks, mock-beggars, mum-pokers, Jemmy-burties, urchins, satyrs, pans, fauns, sirens, tritons, centaurs, calcars, nymphs, imps, incubuses, spoorns, men-in-the-oak, hell-wains, fire-drakes, kit-a-can-sticks, Tom-tumblers, melch-dicks, larrs, kitty-witches, hobby-lanthorns, Dick-a-Tuesdays, Elf-fires, Gyl-burnt-tales, knockers, elves, rawheads, Meg-with-the-wads, old-shocks, ouphs, pad-foots, pixies, pictrees, giants, dwarfs, Tom-pokers, tutgots, snapdragons, sprets, spunks, conjurers, thurses, spurns, tantarrabobs, swaithes, tints, tod-lowries, Jack-in-the-Wads, mormos, changelings, redcaps, yeth-hounds, colt-pixies, Tom-thumbs, black-bugs, boggarts, scar-bugs, shag-foals, hodge-pochers, hob-thrushes, bugs, bull-beggars, bygorns, bolls, caddies, bomen, brags, wraiths, waffs, flay-boggarts, fiends, gallytrots, imps, gytrashes, patches, hob-and-lanthorns, gringes, boguests, bonelesses, Peg-powlers, pucks, fays, kidnappers, gallybeggars, hudskins, nickers, madcaps, trolls, robinets, friars' lanthorns, silkies, cauld-lads, death-hearses, goblins, hob-headlesses, bugaboos, kows, or cowes, nickies, nacks necks, waiths, miffies, buckies, ghouls, sylphs, guests, swarths, freiths, freits, gy-carlins Gyre-carling, pigmies, chittifaces, nixies, Jinny-burnt-tails, dudmen, hell-hounds, dopple-gangers, boggleboes, bogies, redmen, portunes, grants, hobbits, hobgoblins, brown-men, cowies, dunnies, wirrikows, alholdes, mannikins, follets, korreds, lubberkins, cluricauns, kobolds, leprechauns, kors, mares, korreds, puckles korigans, sylvans, succubuses, blackmen, shadows, banshees, lian-hanshees, clabbernappers, Gabriel-hounds, mawkins, doubles, corpse lights or candles, scrats, mahounds, trows, gnomes, sprites, fates, fiends, sibyls, nicknevins, whitewomen, fairies, thrummy-caps, cutties, and nisses, and apparitions of every shape, make, form, fashion, kind and description, that there was not a village in England that had not its own peculiar ghost. Nay, every lone tenement, castle, or mansion-house, which could boast of any antiquity had its bogle, its specter, or its knocker. The churches, churchyards, and crossroads were all haunted. Every green lane had its boulder-stone on which an apparition kept watch at night. Every common had its circle of fairies belonging to it. And there was scarcely a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit!
[Emphasis added] It is curious that the name occurs nowhere else in folklore, and there is no evidence that Tolkien ever saw this. The word also was recorded from 1835 as "a term generally used in Wales to express a quantity made up of four Welsh pecks." Hobbitry attested from 1947.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hobbit — Hobbit, The (1937) a very popular book by J.R.R. Tolkien. It describes the exciting and magical adventures of Bilbo Baggins, who is a hobbit, in a place called Middle Earth. →↑Lord of the Rings, the …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Hobbit — In J. R. R. Tolkien s legendarium, Hobbits are a diminutive race that inhabit the lands of Middle earth. Known as Halflings to most and Periannath by the Elves, the word Hobbit is derived from the name Holbytlan which means hole dwellers in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Hobbit — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hobbit (homonymie). Les Hobbits, également appelés Semi hommes ou Periannath, forment un des peuples d Hommes vivant en Terre du Milieu, dans l univers de fiction imaginé par l écrivain britannique J. R. R.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hobbit — Hobbithöhlen in Hobbingen, Auenland (Filmkulisse in Matamata) Hobbits oder Halblinge sind fiktive, menschenähnliche Wesen in der von J. R. R. Tolkien geschaffenen Fantasiewelt Mittelerde. Sie spielen in den Romanen Der kleine Hobbit und Der Herr… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hobbit — a book (1937) written by J R R Tolkien. The book is set in the imaginary world of Middle Earth. In the book, hobbits are small, friendly creatures with big feet. The main character, a hobbit called Bilbo Baggins, becomes involved in an adventure… …   Universalium

  • hobbit — [20] The name of these small furry footed human like creatures was invented by their creator, J.R.R. Tolkien, and first appeared in public in The Hobbit (1937). It probably simply hobby 272 occurred to him as a pleasing and appropriatesounding… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • hobbit — [20] The name of these small furry footed human like creatures was invented by their creator, J.R.R. Tolkien, and first appeared in public in The Hobbit (1937). It probably simply occurred to him as a pleasing and appropriatesounding name, but… …   Word origins

  • hobbit — noun a) A fictional race of small humanoids with shaggy hair and hairy feet. It was his thirty third birthday and already he had a little round tummy like a hobbit, b) A member of any race of small humans or hominids. Although partial remains of… …   Wiktionary

  • Hobbit — Raza de seres antropomorfos, de baja estatura y de ambiente bucólico, que pertenece a la mitología creada por Tolkien en sus libros El Silmarillion , El Hobbit , El Señor de los Anillos y otros. Se caracterizan por su abundante vellosidad en el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • hobbit — noun a member of an imaginary race similar to humans, of small size and with hairy feet, in stories by J. R. R. Tolkien. Origin 1937: invented by Tolkien in his book The Hobbit, and said by him to mean hole dweller …   English new terms dictionary


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