OED Mobbing n.
1. a. The action of a mob or group of people in attacking, harassing, or crowding round a person (now esp. in adulation or acclamation); an instance of this. Also: the action or an act of congregating in a mob or crowd.
1719 J. NAILER Mem. Pref. p. x, And he that appear'd the most eminent in bearing a Testimony for God against those Deceivers..was generally most sure of feeling the utmost Effects of their Wrath and Envy, by Mobbings, Beatings, Stonings, Fires and Imprisonments. a1734 R. NORTH Examen (1740) III. vii. §96. 579 The Spirit of the Faction was not broken till..the Rye Conspiracy was discovered; and then Mobbings were laid aside all at once. 1741 H. WALPOLE Let. 12 Nov. in Lett. (1840) I. 93 It is Admiral Vernon's birthday..and the night will be full of mobbing, bonfires, and lights. 1781 S. PETERS Gen. Hist. Connecticut 411 David Wooster, the rebel General, Benedict Arnold's old acquaintance and mobbing confederate. 1816 Remarks Eng. Mann. 32, I never heard any one..say that the mobbing of a London rout was any thing but insipid. 1844 T. HOOD Whimsicalities II. 186 Whether this here mobbing..Will grow to such a riot that the Oxford Blues [i.e. policemen] must quell it. 1870 Daily News 5 May 2/4 There was no actual mobbing of the Prince and Princess, but there were one or two attempts. 1887 Times (Weekly ed.) 30 Dec. 10/1 The mobbing and snowballing of Mr. Gladstone's party. 1921 Internat. Jrnl. Ethics 32 60 What will moral instruction accomplish toward solving the negro problem in the South while lynching and mobbing of negros is permitted? 1961 Times 20 Jan. 17/4 The embracing and mobbing of the goal-scorer is entirely unnecessary. 1994 Film Focus Dec. 17/3 A phalanx of handlers orchestrate the scene, the arrival and mobbing of the Knoxes as they pull up in a paddy wagon, swarmed like celebrities dodging the paparazzi.
b. The action of associating with or joining the crowd for some actively, esp. to watch a theatrical production from the gallery. Chiefly attrib. Obs.
1760 G. COLMAN Polly Honeycombe i. 5, I long for a mobbing scheme with Mr. Scribble to the two-shilling gallery, or a snug Party a little way out of town. 1824 M. M. SHERWOOD Lady of Manor II. ix. 86 The mobbing-party for the theatre was determined upon and carried into effect.
c. Sc. Law. The common-law offence of committing violent, riotous, or intimidatory action, in association with others, and with a particular end in mind.
1797 D. HUME Comm. Law Scotl. IV. xvi. 228 A multitude may be convened for a criminal purpose, without being guilty of mobbing. 1832 A. ALISON Princ. Crim. Law Scotl. xxiii. 510 The word Mobbing..[is] peculiarly applicable to the unlawful assemblage and violence of a number of persons, and that of Rioting to the outrageous behaviour of a single individual. 1885 Manch. Examiner 18 Mar. 4/7 Two of the prisoners..pleaded guilty to charges of mobbing and rioting. 1898 J. CHISHOLM Green's Encycl. Law of Scotl. 370 In the law of Scotland mobbing, or 'the Tumultuous Convocation of the Lieges', includes the several degrees and stages of disorder which are known in the law of England under the names of Riot, Rout, and Unlawful Assembly. 1959 Chambers's Encycl. XII. 327/2 Mobbing is violent or threatening action taken in an effort to obtain a definite end and this distinguishes it from rioting and breach of the peace which are disorderly conduct at large. 1973 Observer 4 Feb. 29/4 We almost goat ye fur mobbin' an' riotin'.
d. Animal Behaviour. The action of MOB v.2 1c; an instance of this.
1919 F. FINN Bird Behaviour ix. 275 The mobbing of Hawks and Owls is no doubt often dictated by revenge. 1936 Brit. Birds 29 307 The 'mobbings' of nesting Rooks by other members of the colony..are sexual in origin. 1949 Brit. Birds 42 64 This behaviour is certainly in no way analogous to the so-called 'mobbing' of predatory birds. 1990 D. MORRIS Animalwatching 92/1 (caption) Like small birds, small mammals may occasionally indulge in mobbing to rid themselves of a feared killer.
2. Fox-hunting. Of hunters and hounds: the action of surrounding a fox. Obs.
1781 P. BECKFORD Thoughts on Hunting xvi. 201 When hounds are at cold hunting, with a bad scent, it is then a good time to send a whipper-in forward; if he can see the fox, a little mobbing, at such a time as this, may reasonably be allowed. 1854 R. S. SURTEES Handley Cross vi. 51 The oftener they went, the wilder and worse the hounds became. Sometimes, by dint of mobbing, they managed to kill a fox.
3. A scolding. Obs. rare.
1803 Censor 1 Mar. 35 If he has not enough to give something to the waiter and the ostler, he must..undergo a good (or rather a bad) mobbing from these gentry.