verb (used without object), hobbled, hobbling.
to walk lamely; limp.
to proceed irregularly and haltingly: His verses hobble with their faulty meters.
verb (used with object), hobbled, hobbling.
to cause to limp: His tight shoes hobbled him.
to fasten together the legs of (a horse, mule, etc.) by short lengths of rope to prevent free motion.
to impede; hamper the progress of.
an act of hobbling; an uneven, halting gait; a limp.
a rope, strap, etc., used to hobble an animal.
hobbles, a leg harness for controlling the gait of a pacer.
Archaic. an awkward or difficult situation.

1300–50; Middle English hobelen, apparently akin to hob protuberance, uneven ground, and to Dutch hobbelen, German hoppeln to jolt

hobbler, noun
unhobbled, adjective
unhobbling, adjective

5. hinder, restrict, frustrate, cramp.

5. aid, assist, benefit.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hobble (ˈhɒbəl)
1.  (intr) to walk with a lame awkward movement
2.  (tr) to fetter the legs of (a horse) in order to restrict movement
3.  to progress unevenly or with difficulty
4.  (tr) to hamper or restrict (the actions or scope of a person, organization, etc)
5.  a strap, rope, etc, used to hobble a horse
6.  a limping gait
7.  dialect (Brit) a difficult or embarrassing situation
8.  a castrated ferret
[C14: probably from Low German; compare Flemish hoppelen, Middle Dutch hobbelen to stammer]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, hoblen "to rock back and forth, toss up and down," probably related to its Du. cognate hobbelen. Transitive sense of "tie the legs of an animal" first recorded 1831, probably an alteration of 16c. hopple, cognate with Flem. hoppelen "to rock, jump," related to Du. hobbelen. Sense of "hamper,
hinder" is c.1870.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Meanwhile, control efforts are hobbled by the lack of safe, affordable
But they, too, are horribly hobbled by a stiff and inadequate script.
It was supposed to be up and running four months ago, but has been hobbled by
  both politics and logistics.
The launch of free newspapers has further hobbled the paid-for variety.
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