ham·​string | \ ˈham-ˌstriŋ How to pronounce hamstring (audio) \

Definition of hamstring

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : either of two groups of tendons at the back of the human knee
b : any of three muscles at the back of the thigh that function to flex and rotate the leg and extend the thigh
2 : a large tendon above and behind the hock of a quadruped


hamstrung\ ˈham-​ˌstrəŋ How to pronounce hamstrung (audio) \; hamstringing\ ˈham-​ˌstriŋ-​iŋ How to pronounce hamstringing (audio) \

Definition of hamstring (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make ineffective or powerless : cripple hamstrung by guilt
2 : to cripple by cutting the leg tendons

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Examples of hamstring in a Sentence


The mayor tried to hamstring our efforts by cutting the budget. The company claims it is being hamstrung by government regulations.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hinch kidded that Brantley's hamstring had become sore from getting on base so many times in the Astros' 5-4 loss in Friday's series opener. Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Michael Brantley gets precautionary day off," 6 July 2019 She was also seen at training Monday with tape on her right hamstring. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "Why Megan Rapinoe didn’t play in the USA’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal game," 2 July 2019 Gym workouts of one to two hours focused on hamstrings and core strength. Jen Murphy, WSJ, "How Tennis Star Reilly Opelka Bounced Back From Injury," 30 June 2019 Zadina missed most of the on-ice activities during the five-day event at Little Caesars Arena, hampered by a sore hamstring suffered two weeks ago while working on gaining more explosiveness. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings' Filip Zadina explains why he's more comfortable in NHL," 29 June 2019 First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The big news of Tuesday’s game featured New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard making a rehab start (hamstring) for the Cyclones. Randy Mcroberts, baltimoresun.com, "Aberdeen slips below .500 for first time this season," 27 June 2019 Cain has been hampered for roughly a month by both his thumb and also a sore hamstring. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lorenzo Cain gets injection in Los Angeles to try and treat troublesome right thumb," 25 June 2019 For his entire rookie season, Texans cornerback Jermaine Kelly was sidelined with a torn hamstring that required surgery to repair the damage. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans' Jermaine Kelly making up for lost time," 23 June 2019 MINNEAPOLIS — Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers left Wednesday night’s game against the Twins in the top of the fifth inning because of what the team described as right hamstring tightness. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, "Rafael Devers leaves Red Sox game because of hamstring tightness," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Unfortunately, Your Phone is still hamstrung by the need to support specific phones, as well as the new Insider Build. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "New Windows 10 feature build improves notifications, eye tracking and Your Phone app," 3 July 2019 Both moves are good short-term investments that won't hamstring any long-term flexibility. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "NBA Free Agency Report Card: Grading the Nets, Knicks, 76ers and More from a Crazy Day 1," 1 July 2019 Libra could also be hamstrung by government regulation. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "What does Facebook’s Libra currency mean for Africa?," 20 June 2019 Stringent guest-worker limits in the U.S. have hamstrung businesses in industries from landscaping to fisheries. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Japan’s Immigration Harbinger," 5 Dec. 2018 Google says there are more than 50 Wear OS devices on the market today, but nearly all of them are hamstrung by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google’s huge Wear OS revamp makes the OS work more like Android," 29 Aug. 2018 Sending staffers on the road for an 82-game season is no small investment, some basketball operations departments are territorial about their privacy, and even the best social media team can be hamstrung by a bad on-court product. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "How Instagram Conquered the NBA," 2 Mar. 2018 Patches, as free and minor updates are called, became a valuable tool for smoothing out glitches that, in a previous era, would hamstring games for eternity. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Google's 'Stadia' Is the Latest Attack in the War on Games You Can Actually Own," 19 Mar. 2019 Supporters of the lawsuit contend SB 54 makes the public less safe, hamstrings law enforcement and that, in general, people want law enforcement agencies cooperating. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Red California's revenge on sanctuary laws," 6 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hamstring.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hamstring


1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for hamstring

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hamstring

The first known use of hamstring was in 1565

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More Definitions for hamstring



English Language Learners Definition of hamstring

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tendon at the back of a person's knee
: a muscle at the back of a person's upper leg



English Language Learners Definition of hamstring (Entry 2 of 2)

: to damage or ruin the force or effectiveness of (something or someone)


ham·​string | \ ˈham-ˌstriŋ How to pronounce hamstring (audio) \

Medical Definition of hamstring

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : either of two groups of tendons bounding the upper part of the popliteal space at the back of the knee and forming the tendons of insertion of some muscles of the back of the thigh
2 : a large tendon above and behind the hock of a quadruped corresponding to the human Achilles tendon


transitive verb
hamstrung\ -​ˌstrəŋ How to pronounce hamstrung (audio) \; hamstringing\ -​ˌstriŋ-​iŋ How to pronounce hamstringing (audio) \

Medical Definition of hamstring (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cripple by cutting the leg tendons folklore has it that wolf packs try to hamstring their prey— John Madson

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More from Merriam-Webster on hamstring

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hamstring

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hamstring

Spanish Central: Translation of hamstring

Nglish: Translation of hamstring for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hamstring

What made you want to look up hamstring? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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