Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 635 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
MOB. (I) A disorderly crowd, a rabble, also a contemptuous name for the common people, the lower orders, the Greek ii Xor, (whence " ochlocracy," mob-rule). The word is a shortened form of Lat. mobile (sc. vulgus), the movable or mutable emotional, easily stirred crowd. " Mobile " in the sense of rabble was used in the 17th century, and was still used after the shortened form, for some time considered a vulgarism, had become common. Thus Addison (Spectator, No. 135) writes, " It is perhaps this humour of speaking no more than we needs must which has so miserably curtailed some of our words. . . . I dare not answer that ` mob ' . . . ` incog.' and the like will not in time be looked at as part of our tongue." Roger North's Examen, vii., 574 (1740), dates the beginning of the use of the shortened form " mob." " I may note that the rabble first changed their title and were called the ` mob ' in the assemblies of this club. It was their beast of burden, and called first mobile vulgus, but fell naturally into the con-traction of one syllable, and ever since is become proper English." The club alluded to is the Green Ribbon Club (q.v.), and the date would be about 1680. (2) A kind of head-dress for women, usually called a " mob cap," worn during the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries. It was a large cap covering all the hair, with a bag-shaped crown, a broad band and frilled edge. It seems to have been originally an article of wear for the mornings. It is probably connected with words such as " mop," " mab," meaning untidy, neglige.
End of Article: MOB

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.