Word curio icon

Word Curio

June 3, 2020

Word of the Day: Nobby

1 CQ

Word of the Day : August 22, 2017

nobby \NAH-bee\ adjective


: cleverly stylish : chic, smart


The restaurant was a bit too nobby for my tastes, but I did enjoy the food.

"Sponsorship of nobby events seems to be the favourite PR trick for City firms in the soup." — Patrick Hosking, The New Statesman, 2 June 2003

Did You Know?

Nobby comes from the noun nob, which is used in British English to mean "one in a superior position in life." (Nob may have begun as a slang word for "head," but etymologists aren't completely sure. A possible connection to noble has been suggested as well.) Appearing in English in the 18th century, nobby was first used to describe people in society's upper echelons. It has since extended in usage to describe the places frequented by such people, as well as their genteel customs. Charles Dickens, for example, wrote in Bleak House (1853) of "[r]especting this unfortunate family matter, and the nobbiest way of keeping it quiet."

Aired August 22, 2017

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max