Nobby is the diminutive form of the name Norbert. It is also 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 English) in the City of London used to wear Nobby hats, a type of bowler hat. Alternative spellings include "Knobby" and "Clarke".

An alternative 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 calluses 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 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".

Nobby Clark is also cockney rhyming slang for a shark.

Soldiers of the Canadian Forces seem to have picked up this nickname as well during the 20th Century.

Examples include:

  • Edward Winchester Clark, famous cricket player.
  • William Clarke (cryptographer), British cryptographer
  • Major Francis Herbert Clarke, a company commander with the Calgary Highlanders in the Second World War.
  • Flight Lieutenant Fred Clarke, a pilot with 414 Squadron, RCAF, in the Second World War.
  • J.M. "Knobby" Clarke, one of the first mechanics with the Ontario Provincial Air Service in the 1920s.
  • Gordon "Nobby" Clark, former singer of Scottish band Bay City Rollers.
  • Nobby Clark (ice hockey), Canadian ice hockey player
  • Nobby Nobbs, Discworld Character
  • Nobby Clark (footballer) who played for Partick Thistle and Queen of the South and managed Queen of the South and Stranraer
  • Alan "Nobby" Clark, Senior Partner - National Australia Bank Ltd

Others nicknamed Nobby

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nobby's — is Australia s largest producer of pre packaged nuts. Crisps are also sold under the Nobby s brand. The company is owned by The Smith s Snackfood Company. Nobby s products are typically sold in supermarkets as well as pubs. In the early 2000s… …   Wikipedia

  • Nobby — Nob by, a. [From 2d {Nob}.] Stylish; modish; elegant; showy; aristocratic; fashionable. [Slang] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nobby — [näb′ē] adj. nobbier, nobbiest [< NOB2] [Slang, Chiefly Brit.] of or for nobs; stylish nobbily adv …   English World dictionary

  • Nobby — 27° 52′ 00″ S 151° 54′ 00″ E / 27.866667, 151.9 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • nobby — adjective Fashionable or chic. Quite nobby are the suitings appearing on some of our better Fifth Avenue young men …   Wiktionary

  • nobby — adj Fashionable. What a nobby hat you have there! 1850s …   Historical dictionary of American slang

  • nobby — nob ► NOUN Brit. informal ▪ a person of wealth or high social position. DERIVATIVES nobby adjective. ORIGIN of unknown origin …   English terms dictionary

  • nobby — adjective (nobbier; est) Date: 1788 chic, smart …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nobby — nobbily, adv. /nob ee/, adj., nobbier, nobbiest. Brit. Slang. 1. fashionable or elegant; stylish; chic. 2. excellent; first rate. [1780 90; NOB2 + Y1] * * * …   Universalium

  • nobby — Synonyms 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,… …   Moby Thesaurus

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