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Posted by James Briggs on October 10, 2003

In Reply to: Schmoozing posted by Henry on October 10, 2003

: : What do you have as the derivative for the word "Hob nob" or mingle with the upper class???

: Schmoozing is a common term for networking in professional circles.

For my efforts to find the origin of 'to hob nob' - read on!

Hob-nob: To hob-nob with someone is to associate with them; to keep their company. The expression is a corruption of the now defunct hab-nab in turn a shortening of old English habbe (=hit) and nabbe (=miss). This took on the implication of give & take and this giving and taking (of drinks) is one of the hallmarks of hob-nobbing. In 1811 it was "Will you Hob or Nob with me?" If the party so questioned replied "nob" they were deemed to have agreed to have a drink of wine with the proposer and had to choose red or white wine. The 1811 suggested origin goes back to the days of good queen Bess when great chimneys were in fashion. On each corner of the hearth or grate was a small projection called the hob. In winter beer was placed upon the hob to warm and cold beer was set upon a small table, said to have been called the nob and so the question "will you hob or nob with me?" seems to merely been an invitation to warm or cold beer. The modern use of Hob retains the furnace association.