hobson-jobson

Definition

Slang

  • noun the linguistic process whereby foreign words or phrases are anglicised for use by English speakers. The practice was particularly noticeable during the colonial era and World War I. Hobson-Jobson is itself a rendering of the Muslim religious cry ‘Ya Hasan, Ya Hosain!’ (praising or lamenting Hassan and Hussein, grandsons of Mohammed). Plonk (an alteration of the french vin blanc) and hocus-pocus (from the Latin hoc est corpus) are examples of this type of pun or folk etymology.
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