Share this entry
hobnail Line breaks: hob|nail
Pronunciation: /ˈhɒbneɪl/

Definition of hobnail in English:


1A short heavy-headed nail used to reinforce the soles of boots.
Example sentences
  • When Douglas Hadow's boots were examined, it was found that the hobnails on their soles were worn almost smooth.
  • Adults had hobnailed shoes, but hobnails were not found with children so they were bare-foot or wore un-nailed shoes.
  • Of the other material categories, footwear is as likely to be absent as present - although without hobnails and suitable conditions for preservation, we cannot be certain about frequency.
1.1A blunt projection, especially in cut or moulded glassware.
Example sentences
  • Although particularly heavy, the bowl has a dainty design with a distinctive star-shaped base and a wealth of intricate engravings - various sunbursts panels are divided by parallel prisms from hobnail diamond panels.
1.2 [mass noun] Glass decorated with blunt projections.


Pronunciation: /ˈhɒbneɪld/
Example sentences
  • In winter they wore layers and layers of clothing and hobnailed boots to keep warm.
  • A century ago, mountains were climbed in hobnailed boots with stafflike ice axes, footsteps laboriously cut all the way to the top.
  • Didn't Mother frequently complain about how and why he must wear hobnailed boots, such was the racket he made early in the morning?


Late 16th century: from hob1 + nail.

Definition of hobnail 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.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources