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Surname Hobbes - Meaning and Origin

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Hobbes: What does the surname Hobbes mean?

The surname Hobbes is of English origin and emerged in medieval times. Its etymology can be traced back to the Middle English personal name "Hobbe", a short form of "Robert", which means "bright fame". It derived from the elements "hrod", which means "fame" and "beraht" or "beorht", which mean "bright". Over time, this personal name evolved into a patronymic surname, indicating a familial or occupational relationship. The familial interpretation would suggest the name Hobbes signifies "son of Hobbe" or "son of Robert". It gained popularity across Britain during the Middle Ages and spread to other English-speaking countries through emigration. Notably, the name Hobbes is associated with Thomas Hobbes, the influential 17th-century English philosopher. As with many surnames, variations exist, including Hobbs, Hobbis, and Hobs among others.

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Hobbes: Where does the name Hobbes come from?

The surname Hobbes is of English origin, derived from the medieval personal name "Hob". It is a diminutive form of the given name Robert, "Hob" being a medieval nickname for Robert. The "bes" ending is patronymic, indicating "son of." Therefore, Hobbes means "son of Hob."

One of the most famous bearers of this surname was Thomas Hobbes, the 17th-century English philosopher known for his work in political philosophy.

Today, the surname Hobbes is fairly uncommon and is most prevalent in the United States, followed by England and Australia. However, even in these countries, it is not a very common last name. The highest density of the surname is in the Isle of Man. As per the data from, more recently in 2014, there were approximately 3,600 people with the surname Hobbes, making it the 58,570th most common surname globally.

Variations of the surname Hobbes

The surname Hobbes has several variants and similar spellings. Some of these include Hobbs, Hobis, Hobson, and Hobs. The name Hobbes is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is derived from the personal name Robert. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, the name Robert became very popular and was often shortened to Hob or Dob. Hence, Hobbes may have originally meant "son of Hob" or "son of Dob".

The name can also be found in old English records in many different forms. For example, the surnames Hobbis, Hobbys and Hobis are all found in 16th and 17th century documents. Other recorded spellings of the surname, which can be found in church registers of the diocese of Greater London, include: the marriage of Avis Hobys and John Adames in 1541, and the christening of Margarett, daughter of Richard Hobbes, at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, in 1578.

Hobbes might even have different pronunciations, depending on the region of the country where it's used. So keep in mind that these are only some possible variants and spellings of the surname Hobbes, and there could be many others.

Famous people with the name Hobbes

  • Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher who was an important figure in political philosophy and social contract theory (1588-1679).
  • Ted Hobbes, American actor who played roles in films such as “The Rocketeer” and “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1956-2015).
  • Reginald Hobbes, English football coach and former professional soccer player (born 1958).
  • Fran Harris, professional basketball player who played in the WNBA and was waived by the Houston Comets (born in 1969 with the last name Hobbs).
  • Hal Hobbes, American comic book artist and writer, notably recognized for his long-running strip The Family Circus (born 1930).
  • Hugh Hobbes, British politician who served as MP for the UK’s City of London from 1906 to 1922 (died in 1944).
  • Joe Hobbs, English politician and former cabinet minister for Education (born in 1967).
  • Anne Hobbes, British novelist who was nominated for the Booker Prize twice (born 1962).
  • Kim Hobbes, Australian film director and producer (born in 1980).
  • Rachel Hobbes, British actress who starred in films like War Machine and Mute (born in 1997).

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