A name for the larger kinds of Orcs. Hobgoblins are only mentioned once in The Hobbit but other than that, they never appear in the tales.
|Before you could get round Mirkwood in the North you would be right among the slopes of the GreyMountains, and they are simply stiff with goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs of the worst description.|
|The Hobbit - Queer Lodgings|
In his explanations preceding the first chapter Tolkien writes:
|(2) Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds). |
|The Hobbit, p.1|
See also: Orcs, Uruk-hai
|Annotations and Comments|
Foster, in his CompleteGuide, suggests that they were ...perhaps Uruk-hai.... Thus it is possible that this represents the Westron name for the Uruk-hai (like 'Goblins' is for Orcs).
Another possibility is, that Tolkien did not connect it with the corpus of his legendarium at the time he wrote this passage. According to Douglas Anderson (The Annotated Hobbit, p.188) the sentence (quoted above) represents also the only appearance of the word Orcs in the original first edition of The Hobbit(1937).