Word of the Day

Monday, January 31, 2000

Hobson's choice

\HOB-suhnz-CHOIS\ , noun;
A choice without an alternative; the thing offered or nothing.
Fagan's defense revolves around his insistence that he faced a Hobson's choice and had to act.
-- Laura Parker, "Discovery of daughters never followed by reunion", USA Today, May 11, 1999
They're faced with a Hobson's choice: Make the plunge . . . or face a terrifying alternative -- gradual extinction.
-- Heather Green, "The Great Yuletide Shakeout", Business Week, November 1, 1999
The origin of the term Hobson's choice is said to be in the name of one Thomas Hobson (ca. 1544-1631), at Cambridge, England, who kept a livery stable and required every customer to take either the horse nearest the stable door or none at all.
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