hobby horse

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See also: hobbyhorse and hobby-horse


A child with a hobby horse (sense 2).
A man with a hobby horse (sense 4).
A dandy or hobby horse (sense 5).
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Alternative forms[edit]


hobby horse (plural hobby horses)

  1. (originally) The Irish hobby, an extinct breed of horse.
  2. A child's toy consisting of a (usually wooden or cloth) horse's head mounted on a stick.
  3. (figuratively) A topic about which someone loves to talk at great length.
    Don't ask him about global warming: it's his favourite hobby horse, you'll never get away.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 250:
      The squire was now on his hobby-horse, as we say; he had placed the old worn fur cap by his side on the sofa, leaving his bald head and grey hairs exposed.
  4. A puppet-like costume used in some traditional dances and festivals that gives its wearer the appearance of a man on horseback.
  5. (cycling, historical) An early bicycle with no pedals or brakes.
    Synonyms: dandy horse, draisienne
    • 2015, Chris Boardman, The Biography of the Modern Bike: The Ultimate History of Bike Design, Hachette, →ISBN, page 10:
      British users rechristened the baron's invention the hobby horse then the dandy horse, because draisines became very fashionable with Regency gentlemen.

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