"a member of the aristocracy, person of wealth and distinction," 1755, a slang shortening of nobleman or some similar word. Related: Nobby; nobbily.
especially in His Nibs "boss, employer, self-important person," 1821, of unknown origin; perhaps a variant of nob (n.2) "person of high position."
1763, "to drink to each other," from hob and nob (1756) "to toast each other by turns, to buy alternate rounds of drinks," alteration of hab nab "to have or have not, hit or miss" (c. 1550), which is probably ultimately from Old English habban, nabban "have, not have," (that is, "to take or not take," used later as an invitation to drinking), with the negative particle ne- attached (from PIE root *ne- "not"), as was customary; see have. Modern sense of "socialize" is 1866. Related: Hobnobbed; hobnobbing.
"only, no one but," 14c., a colloquial or dialectal fusion of not but or none but.
mid-14c., nobilite, "honor, renown; majesty, grandeur;" late 14c., "quality of being excellent or rare," from Old French nobilite "high rank; dignity, grace; great deed" (12c., Modern French nobilité), and directly from Latin nobilitatem (nominative nobilitas) "celebrity, fame; high birth; excellence, superiority; the nobles," from nobilis "well-known, prominent" (see noble (adj.)).
Meaning "quality of being of noble rank or birth; social or political preeminence, usually accompanied by hereditary privilege" is attested from late 14c.; sense of "the noble class collectively" is from late 14c. Sense of "dignity of mind, elevation of the soul, loftiness of tone" is from 1590s.
"man of rank, person of acknowledged social or political preeminence; person of rank above a commoner," c. 1300, from noble (adj.). The same noun sense also is in Old French and Latin. From mid-14c. as the name of an English coin first issued in reign of Edward III.