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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.

Origins of Nobby as a nickname[edit]

A number of possible explanations exist for the use of Nobby as a nickname for people with the surname Clark. These include:

  • Clerks in the City of London used to wear Nobby hats, a type of bowler hat. Alternative spellings include "Knobby" and "Clarke".
  • 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. 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. 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. 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.


Fictional characters[edit]