follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

hobble

[hob-uh l] /ˈhɒb əl/
verb (used without object), hobbled, hobbling.
1.
to walk lamely; limp.
2.
to proceed irregularly and haltingly:
His verses hobble with their faulty meters.
verb (used with object), hobbled, hobbling.
3.
to cause to limp:
His tight shoes hobbled him.
4.
to fasten together the legs of (a horse, mule, etc.) by short lengths of rope to prevent free motion.
5.
to impede; hamper the progress of.
noun
6.
an act of hobbling; an uneven, halting gait; a limp.
7.
a rope, strap, etc., used to hobble an animal.
8.
hobbles, a leg harness for controlling the gait of a pacer.
9.
Archaic. an awkward or difficult situation.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English hobelen, apparently akin to hob protuberance, uneven ground, and to Dutch hobbelen, German hoppeln to jolt
Related forms
hobbler, noun
unhobbled, adjective
unhobbling, adjective
Synonyms
5. hinder, restrict, frustrate, cramp.
Antonyms
5. aid, assist, benefit.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for hobbling
  • It spoils the enjoyment of a campus tour if your visitor is hobbling around in slick-soled shoes.
  • But in a global economy, hobbling businesses unilaterally can be a disadvantage.
  • It was as if after hobbling around with bound feet she were suddenly unbandaged and told to become a marathon runner.
  • You're only hobbling their growth and teaching them that my job is unimportant and not worthy of their respect and attention.
  • She was in his mind when he watched the contestants in the three-legged race hobbling over the meadow.
  • Most hobbling to real communication is the delay in transmission.
  • The operation saved her life but left her hobbling around on only three legs for the better part of six years.
  • The insurgency is hobbling development efforts in other ways.
  • These include picketing, hobbling, or the use of an electric fence.
  • Picketing, hobbling or tying livestock to natural features such as trees is prohibited.
British Dictionary definitions for hobbling

hobble

/ˈhɒbəl/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to walk with a lame awkward movement
2.
(transitive) to fetter the legs of (a horse) in order to restrict movement
3.
to progress unevenly or with difficulty
4.
(transitive) to hamper or restrict (the actions or scope of a person, organization, etc)
noun
5.
a strap, rope, etc, used to hobble a horse
6.
a limping gait
7.
(Brit, dialect) a difficult or embarrassing situation
8.
a castrated ferret
Also (for senses 2, 5) hopple
Derived Forms
hobbler, noun
Word Origin
C14: probably from Low German; compare Flemish hoppelen, Middle Dutch hobbelen to stammer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hobbling

hobble

v.

c.1300, hoblen "to rock back and forth, toss up and down," probably related to its Dutch cognate hobbelen (which, however, is not recorded before late 15c.).

Meaning "to walk lamely" is from c.1400. Transitive sense of "tie the legs (of an animal)" first recorded 1831, probably an alteration of 16c. hopple, cognate with Flemish hoppelen "to rock, jump," which also is related to Dutch hobbelen. Sense of "hamper, hinder" is c.1870. Related: Hobbled; hobbling. The noun is 1727, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hobble

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hobbling

16
20
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for hobbling