An mischievous sprite, particularly puck or Robin Goodfellow. Keightley says it is a corruption of Rob-Goblin, i.e. the goblin Robin; others that is a contraction of hob and goblin. The first written instance dates from 1530 (spelled hobgoblyng).1
Some (in)famous hobgoblins include King Hugon, the great hobgoblin of France, and Bloody-Bones.
1. Palsgrave, J. 1530. L'éclaircissement de la langue française. p. 231.
- Cooper, J.C., ed. (1997). Brewer's Book of Myth and Legend. Oxford: Helicon Publishing Ltd.