Share this entry

lobby Syllabification: lob·by
Pronunciation: /ˈläbē/

Definition of lobby in English:

noun (plural lobbies)

1A room providing a space out of which one or more other rooms or corridors lead, typically one near the entrance of a public building.
Example sentences
  • Clad in bright green glass tiles, the entrance lobby leads to a restful white panelled ante room.
  • A glazed tunnel set slightly off axis leads down through the treelined courtyard into the entrance lobby, one level below ground.
  • The third strategy (mixed mode) combines natural and artificial ventilation in transition spaces such as lobbies, foyers and the courtyard.
entrance hall, hallway, entrance, hall, vestibule, foyer, reception area
2A group of people seeking to influence politicians or public officials on a particular issue: members of the anti-abortion lobby [as modifier]: lobby groups
More example sentences
  • It would be easy to imagine that the reason why the question of pain and late abortion have become connected is because the anti-abortion lobby have exploited the issue.
  • This makes it a perfect issue for the anti-abortion lobby to take up.
  • He also boasted of being sought by numerous other lobbies, including the Hollywood trade group MPAA and several telecommunications firms.
special interest group, interest group, pressure group;
movement, campaign, crusade;
faction, camp
2.1 [in singular] An organized attempt by members of the public to influence politicians or public officials: a recent lobby of Congress by retirees
More example sentences
  • The union plans to organise a lobby of the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth this September over manufacturing job losses.
  • Last week we organised a lobby of the Lib Dem council to save our school.
  • Our next step was to organise a lobby of the next meeting of the Housing Committee.

verb (lobbies, lobbying, lobbied)

[with object] Back to top  
Seek to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue: it is recommending that booksellers lobby their representatives [no object]: a group lobbying for better rail services
More example sentences
  • Protesters lobbied councillors as they went into their meeting.
  • Private firms spend millions lobbying politicians to promote their interests.
  • They also lobbied councillors and told them the increase in traffic would created a safety risk.
seek to influence, try to persuade, bring pressure to bear on, importune, sway;
petition, solicit, appeal to, pressurize
campaign for, crusade for, press for, push for, ask for, call for, demand;
promote, advocate, champion


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'monastic cloister'): from medieval Latin lobia, lobium 'covered walk, portico'. The verb sense derives from the practice of frequenting the lobby of a house of legislature to influence its members into supporting a cause.

  • Both lobby and lodge (Middle English) go back to medieval Latin lobia ‘covered walk, portico’. The earliest uses of the word refer to monastic cloisters, but after Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries it moved into the world of the rich subjects who turned them into houses. A lobby became an antechamber or entrance hall, and is now often the foyer ( see focus) of a hotel. The British Houses of Parliament, and other parliaments, have a central lobby where MPs can meet constituents and members of pressure groups, and two division lobbies where MPs assemble to vote. To lobby meaning ‘to try to influence a legislator’ originated from this arrangement in the USA. Logistics (late 19th century), originally the supplying of troops, developed in French from lodge.



Example sentences
  • I love the fact that politicians, power brokers, presidents, campaigners and lobbyists now have to wait.
  • But there was little memory of that when Gaelic lobbyists looked for support in 2000.
  • Until 1994, a lobbyist needed the support of an MEP in order to obtain a pass giving access to the Parliament's premises.

Words that rhyme with lobby

Bobbie, bobby, Gobbi, hobby, knobby, snobby, swabbie

Definition of lobby in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive