Goblins are thought to have originated from British tales. They are often depicted as short, green creatures. However their attributes and appearances range from source to source. Often times sources are conflicting, so it is hard to find a definite origin or definition of a goblin. Several different creatures of mythology, including Tengu, a type of Japanese gnome, when translated into English become "goblins". Although Tengu are very different from goblins, they are translated to goblins because the term can be used to describe almost any mythological creature of a short stature.
Goblins are very often depicted as green. Their height can vary between sources and countries. Their height will almost always be about half of, or equal to human size. They are nomadic, and often live in mossy areas or trees. However these do not remain their home for long before they move on. Often seen as trouble makers, they are often depicted toying with humans, hiding their things or participating in general mischief.
Hobgoblin is a term often used to describe a playful, and fun goblin. Throughout different literature however their attributes vary. For example, in Tolkien lore, hobgoblins are big, strong, and mean. On occasion hobgoblins are given magical properties.