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See also: hobson-jobson



Alternative formsEdit


Coined in this sense by Yule and Burnell in their dictionary Hobson-Jobson. Special use of colonial British slang Hobson-Jobson, any Indian religious observance, especially the Muharram, derived from adapting the call Hassan! Hussein! (حسن حسين(ḥasan! ḥusayn!), a lament for the grandsons of the Prophet Muhammad) to Hobson and Jobson, a pair of comic figures popular in the nineteenth century. [1][2]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌhɒb.sənˈdʒɒb.sən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌhɑb.sənˈdʒɑb.sən/
  • (file)



Hobson-Jobson (plural Hobson-Jobsons)

  1. A word or phrase borrowed by one language from another and modified in pronunciation to fit the set of sounds the borrowing language typically uses.
    • 1977, Robert H. Stacy, Defamiliarization in Language and Literature, page 51:
      If the French for pun, calembour, derives (as Spitzer maintained) from "conundrum"; this points up well the at first puzzling effect of such devices. Caran d'Ache is in fact an intentional hobson-jobson.
    • 2003, Jan Venolia, The Right Word!, page 4:
      A Hobson-Jobson turns a difficult word or phrase into something more tractable (or perhaps less offensive). By that route, a Texas river that French trappers had named Purgatoire became the Picketwire, and the Malay word kampong became the English word compound.
  2. (Britain, slang, archaic) Any Indian religious observance, especially the Muharram.

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See alsoEdit


  1. ^ T. Nagle (2010), “'There is Much, Very Much, in the Name of a Book' or, the Famous Title of Hobson-Jobson and How it Got that Way”, in 'Cunning Passages, Contrived Corridors': Unexpected Essays in the History of Lexicography, Monza: Polimetrica, →ISBN, page 111–128
  2. ^ James Lambert (2014), “A much tortured expression: A new look at Hobson-Jobson.”, in International Journal of Lexicography[1], volume 27, issue 1, page 54-88

Further readingEdit