A hobby is an activity that one engages in outside of his or her regular occupation and does especially for enjoyment. It is usually something that is not lucrative, although some people do make a good income from their hobbies such as fishing or collecting rare coins.
Hobbies are often of a creative nature like painting or DIY crafts. Others may be educational such as bird watching or astronomy or simply social like playing cards. They can also be active such as hiking, kayaking or sailing. They are activities that can be done alone or with other people like a club or community group.
The word hobby comes from the 16th century payment confirmation of a small toy riding horse, and from there it developed to mean “favorite pastime or avocation.” The cultural shift towards acceptance of hobbies began in the 18th century as people had more regular hours of work, and could devote some of their leisure time to pursuits that gave them satisfaction.
Some hobbies are quite expensive, such as yachting or collecting stamps, and are largely reserved for the global elite. However, even more affordable hobbies can be costly if the participant has to invest a significant amount of money in equipment and maintenance.
Hobbies are important because they can help people learn and develop new skills. They can provide a break from the responsibilities of daily life, and provide relaxation and a sense of accomplishment. Moreover, they can be an excellent source of entertainment and may even lead to social and professional connections.