from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A gawky adolescent boy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A stripling; a youth in the half-formed age preceding manhood; a raw, awkward youth.
  • noun A large unmanageable top.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun colloq. A youth between boy and man; an awkward, gawky young fellow .

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An awkward adolescent boy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an awkward bad-mannered adolescent boy


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Scots. Compare English dialect hobbledygee with a limping movement; also French hobereau, a country squire, English hobby, and Old French hoi today; perhaps the original sense was "an upstart of today".


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  • “A black-haired, red-cheeked, long-legged hobbledehoy of 26, though not looking or seeming near that age,” he wrote.12

    Louisa May Alcott Susan Cheever 2010

  • Nights of Villjamur is an occasionally hobbledehoy, sometimes rich and atmospheric Fenrir-Devouring-The-Sun Dying Earth fantasy.

    Archive 2010-01-01 Adam Roberts 2010

  • When Grandpa wasn’t a grandpa and was just instead a small-fry, hobbledehoy boy blowing out thirteen dripping candles on a lopsided cake, his savvy hit him hard and suddenjust like it did to fish that day of the backyard birthday party and the hurricaneand the entire state of Idaho got made.

    Excerpt: Savvy by Ingrid Law 2008

  • Geiton the hero, a handsome, curly-pated hobbledehoy of seventeen, with his câlinerie and wheedling tongue, is courted like one of the sequor sexus: his lovers are inordinately jealous of him and his desertion leaves deep scars upon the heart.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night 2006

  • ‘This is a boy, or a youth, or a lad, or a young man, or a hobbledehoy, or whatever you like to call him, of eighteen or nineteen, or thereabouts,’ said Ralph.

    Nicholas Nickleby 2007

  • I retain the keenest sympathy and something inexplicably near to envy for my own departed youth, but I should find it difficult to maintain my case against any one who would condemn me altogether as having been a very silly, posturing, emotional hobbledehoy indeed and quite like my faded photograph.

    In the Days of the Comet Herbert George 2006

  • The bandages and false hair flew across the passage into the bar, making a hobbledehoy jump to avoid them.

    The Invisible Man Herbert George 2006

  • And he had a younger sister who loved him dearly, who had no idea that he was a hobbledehoy, being somewhat of a hobbledehoy herself.

    The Small House at Allington 2004

  • But the hobbledehoy, though he blushes when women address him, and is uneasy even when he is near them, though he is not master of his limbs in a ball-room, and is hardly master of his tongue at any time, is the most eloquent of beings, and especially eloquent among beautiful women.

    The Small House at Allington 2004

  • When I compare the hobbledehoy of one or two and twenty to some finished Apollo of the same age, I regard the former as unripe fruit, and the latter as fruit that is ripe.

    The Small House at Allington 2004


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  • He, Mark, could not stand hobbledehoys - particularly the hobbledehoys of that age who appeared to be opinionative and emotional beyond the normal in hobbledehoys.

    - Ford Madox Ford, The Last Post

    March 11, 2008