AskDefine | Define nobby

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Fashionable or chic
    • 1925 April 11, Busybody, "Jottings About Town", in The New Yorker, page 25,
      Quite nobby are the suitings appearing on some of our better Fifth Avenue young men.

Extensive Definition

Nobby is a nickname most commonly used in English for those with the surname Clark or Clarke.

Nobby Clark

The explanation given for the use of this nickname is that clerks (pronounced "clarks" in British dialects) in the City of London used to wear Nobby hats, or top hats. Alternate spellings include "Knobby" and "Clarke".
An alternate explanation for the name Nobby attached to the surname Clarke is thus: 16th century monks wrote letters for the illiterate. These monks were referred to as "Clerks". The outcome of so much writing causes callouses on the fingers "nobs" and therefore Nobby Clerks was born'
In England the term "nob" is used to refer to a member of the aristocracy and by extension a posh person. A clerk (pronounced "clark" in British dialects) would deal with the common people but would be better educated, better paid and in a position of relative power. To the uneducated, clerks were posh and therefore considered to be "nobs". Hence, nobby Clark. Clerks were also required to maintain a high standard of dress, and were paid a clothing allowance. The result was that they always appeared smart. Both the Oxford English and the English Dialect Dictionaries list nobby as being of a rich man, a nob or toff, or “smart”, and gives it a wide distribution, so smart persons were "nobby".
Soldiers of the Canadian Forces seem to have picked up this nickname as well during the 20th Century.
Examples include:

Others nicknamed Nobby

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

OK, ace-high, bad, bang-up, bonzer, boss, braw, bully, but good, chic, classy, clothes-conscious, cool, corking, cosmopolitan, crackerjack, dandy, dapper, dashing, delicious, dressed to advantage, dressed to kill, ducky, elegant, exquisite, fab, fine and dandy, gear, genteel, great, groovy, heavy, hot, hunky-dory, jam-up, jaunty, just dandy, keen, marvy, mean, natty, neat, nifty, okay, out of sight, peachy, peachy-keen, posh, recherche, ripping, ritzy, rum, scrumptious, sharp, slap-up, sleek, smart, smashing, smug, snazzy, soigne, soignee, solid, something else, sophisticated, spiffing, spiffy, spruce, stunning, style-conscious, swank, swanky, swell, tough, tricksy, trig, trim, well-dressed, well-groomed, wizard
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