It's a question that gets asked every so often. She points out, unless one makes their "living" from it, or it's at least a major source of income, it fits the dictionary definition of 'hobby':
An activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.Some may question whether they do this primarily for pleasure. Few would undertake the research involved if they didn't find the research pleasurable. But that doesn't mean we're doing it primarily to receive pleasure. Many of us, I believe, would argue we're doing it so future (or current) generations will benefit from our work.
I don't read a good book thinking future generations will benefit from me falling asleep each night with a book in my hands. The primary, if not the only, reason I read is because I receive pleasure from reading. Reading is a hobby for me. (Book reviewers get paid to read books, and for them reading isn't a hobby.)
Stepping aside from this argument, the dictionary definition is what linguists call the "denotation." However, there is also the 'connotation.'
Connotation is a subjective cultural and/or emotional coloration in addition to the explicit or denotative meaning of any specific word or phrase in a language. (Wikipedia)Even those who feel genealogy fits the dictionary denotation of 'hobby', may feel they don't like the 'colorations' society has placed on that word. So they may seek other choices. Where to seek them?
Thesaurus: a book of words and their synonymsSo I looked up Hobby at Thesaurus.com
(* indicates an informal usage)
amusement, art, avocation, bag*, ballgame, bit*, craft, craze, deed, distraction, diversion, divertissement, endeavor, enterprise, entertainment, fad*, fancy, favorite occupation, fun, game, interest, job, kick*, labor, labor of love, leisure activity, leisure pursuit, obsession, occupation, pastime, pet topic, play, project, quest, racket, recreation, relaxation, schtick, scheme, scene*, shot, sideline, specialty, sport, stunt, task, thing*, trip, undertaking, vagary, venture, weakness, whim, whimsy, work, zooThen I looked up Obsession
attraction, ax to grind, bent, bug in ear, case*, complex, compulsion, concrete idea, craving, craze*, crush, delusion, dependence, enthusiasm, fancy, fascination, fetish, fixation, hang-up, hook, idée fixe, inclination, infatuation, jones, mania, monkey*, must, neurosis, one-track mind, passion, phantom, phobia, preoccupation, something on the brain, sweet tooth, thing*, tiger by the tailand Quest
adventure, chase, crusade, delving, enterprise, examination, expedition, hunt, inquest, inquiry, inquisition, investigation, journey, mission, pilgrimmage, prey, probe, probing, pursual, pursuit, quarry, race, research, seeking, venery, voyageRemember: Since the thesaurus doesn't know the exact context for which you are using the word, it will provide you with a list of words/phrases with similar meanings.
My own personal preferences from the above:
Labor of love, Quest, Compulsion, Pursuit, and Adventure all seem to fit for me.
However, I have a joy for puns or wordplay, so the choice of undertaking has a certain appeal.