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1. an activity pursued in spare time for pleasure or relaxation
2. Archaic or dialect a small horse or pony
3. an early form of bicycle, without pedals


any of several small Old World falcons, esp the European Falco subbuteo, formerly used in falconry
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Falco subbuteo), a predatory bird of the family Falconidae. The body length is 33 to 35 cm. The upper parts are black with a blue sheen, and the underparts, light with dark markings. The hobby is distributed in Europe, Asia, and North Africa; in the USSR it is found in the forest and forest-steppe zones and in the mountains of the Caucasus and Middle Asia. A migratory bird, it winters in southern Africa and Asia. In the spring it arrives no earlier than late April. It nests in trees in the abandoned nests of crows and other birds. The clutch contains two to four, sometimes five or six, eggs, which are incubated for 28 days. The hobby catches its prey in flight, attaining speeds of up to 150 km/hr. The diet includes small birds and insects, such as dragonflies and beetles. The hobby was formerly used as a hunting bird.


Ptitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1951.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In an attempt to answer these questions I should like to turn to a reference to the hobby-horse in the play Eastward Ho.
For Chapman then, the hobby-horse represents a childish toy (see OED `hobby-horse'4) that Gertrude scornfully rejects when her mother suggests `we must do as we would be done to'.
Whether Chapman's reference to the hobby-horse is meant to refer directly to Hamlet or not, such a use of the term helps us to understand the use to which Hamlet is putting the phrase.
Maid Marion carries a collection box and the hobby-horse simply wanders about snapping at spectators.
The first writer to mention the event was Robert Plot, who calls it `the hobby-horse dance" and records that it took place at Christmas and Twelfth Night.
The likelihood is that the modern horn dance is a mixture of half-remembered traditions, part church pageant and part pagan ritual, and that a combination of Morris dancing, hobby-horse and folk play have been stirred into the pot.
Thirty-eight years later, as Professor Emeritus at Berkley, Crews presents Postmodern Pooh, a vicious attack on contemporary literary theory, where some critics are so bound to their own theoretical hobby-horses that their work becomes absurd.
From the start, they should concentrate on the people's priorities, not politically-correct hobby-horses.
For the magazine, in order to preserve critical writing--not so much for its own sake as for that of society's sanity--must navigate the pit-falls of commerce, curatorial hobby-horses, and artistic careerism.
The fat-cat MSPs have yet to justify themselves by tackling the people's problems, instead of wasting time on personal hobby-horses and non-urgent politically correct issues.
They don't mind raking in all that lovely road/petrol tax revenue and wasting it on totally unrelated hobby-horses, but then say they don't have enough funding to give us what they think we need.
Instead of addressing the concerns of ordinary people, they have given priority to politically-correct hobby-horses.