("hQbI) [ME. hobyn, hoby, in OF. hobin, hobi, haubby, whence mod.F. aubin, It. ubino.
The OFr. was adopted from English, where the word is app. native. In all probability it is the by-name Hobin, Hobby, var. of Robin, Robbie: see Hob n.1 According to Bp. Kennett (1695) Gloss. to Paroch. Antiq. s.v. Hobelers, ‘Our ploughmen to some one of their cart-horses generally give the name of Hobin, the very word which Phil. Comines [a1509] uses, Hist. vi. vii.’ Another by-form of the same name, dobbin, has become a generic name for a cart-horse. Cf. also dicky, donkey, neddy, cuddy, names for the ass.]
1. A small or middle-sized horse; an ambling or pacing horse; a pony. Now Hist., arch., or dial.
In early times hobbies are chiefly referred to as of Irish breed; in later times, also, as Welsh or Scotch.
Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
Well, here's what the OED says about Dobbin:
1596 [the proper name Dobbin (diminuitive of Dob, altered forms of Robin, Rob) as a pet name] 1. An ordinary draught horse; contempt., a jade.
The next definition down is Dobby (remember him from Harry Potter?) 1691 [playful application of the proper name Dobbie (f. as prec.).] 1. Silly old man, a dotard (dial.). 2. A household sprite or apparition; a brownie (dial.). 1811.
The other name for Puck was Robin Goodfellow.
Also from the OED
Hobby. sb. [ME hobyn, hoby; prob, the by-name Hobin, Hobby, var. of Robin, Robbie. Cf. DOBBIN.] 1. A small or middle-sized horse; an ambling or pacing horse; a pony. Now hist., arch., or dial.
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