hide·​bound | \ ˈhīd-ˌbau̇nd How to pronounce hidebound (audio) \

Definition of hidebound

1 of a domestic animal : having a dry skin lacking in pliancy and adhering closely to the underlying flesh
2 : having an inflexible or ultraconservative character

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Did You Know?

Hidebound has its origins in agriculture. The word, which appeared in English as hyde bounde in the 16th century, originally described cattle that, due to illness or poor feeding, had skin that clung to the skeleton and could not be pinched, loosened, or worked with the fingers. Hidebound has also been applied to humans - both literally, to describe people with tight skin, and figuratively. In its earliest figurative usage, hidebound meant "stingy" or "miserly." That sense has since fallen out of use, but a second figurative usage, describing people who are rigid or unyielding in their actions or beliefs, lives on in our language today.

Examples of hidebound in a Sentence

the hidebound innkeeper refused to see the need for a Web site, insisting that the inn had done without one for over 150 years
Recent Examples on the Web The reformers viewed decentralization as an experiment that would unshackle the underperforming Ocean Hill-Brownsville district from the Board of Education’s hidebound central bureaucracy. Sam Roberts, BostonGlobe.com, "Rhody McCoy, key figure in New York’s school wars," 23 May 2020 If walking, for Ekelund, is a process necessary in its own right, O’Mara’s concerns are more prosaic and hidebound. David L. Ulin, New York Times, "How Walking Changes Us," 12 May 2020 Years later, McNair was selected to become only the second African American to travel to space, overcoming segregation, poverty and racist hidebound stereotypes in an intellectual act of resistance that inspired a generation. Fox News, "5 African-American groundbreakers in the US space program," 21 Feb. 2020 Maile’s arrival was the product of several months of behind-the-scenes negotiation in the hidebound Senate, whose rules until Wednesday barred children from coming onto the Senate floor. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, "‘It’s About Time’: A Baby Comes to the Senate Floor," 19 Apr. 2018 Culinary professionals suggest that the city, by virtue of the depth and quality of its food offerings, does promote a hidebound attitude. Charles Passy, WSJ, "To the Chagrin of Politicians, New York Has Strict Food Rules," 18 Jan. 2020 Some hidebound fans refused to imagine that a character defined by physical alteration, in a series that does not fret much over canonical consistency, could change into a woman. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Doctor Who’ meets James Bond in the swashbuckling ‘Spyfall’," 1 Jan. 2020 Dating back more than 600 years, the job of speaker comes with an illustrious history, though Mr. Bercow prided himself on modernizing Parliament and casting off some of the most hidebound traditions surrounding the speaker’s position. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Lindsay Hoyle to Replace John Bercow as U.K. Speaker," 4 Nov. 2019 Put simply, the United States does have choices in the Middle East, even if most members of our hidebound and war-besotted foreign policy establishment remain willfully blind to them. Andrew Bacevich, Twin Cities, "Andrew Bacevich: Why President Trump can’t end ‘endless wars’," 13 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hidebound.' 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 hidebound

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for hidebound

Time Traveler

The first known use of hidebound was in 1603

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Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hidebound.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hidebound. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for hidebound


How to pronounce hidebound (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hidebound

disapproving : not willing to accept new or different ideas


hide·​bound | \ ˈhīd-ˌbau̇nd How to pronounce hidebound (audio) \

Medical Definition of hidebound

1 : having a dry skin lacking in pliancy and adhering closely to the underlying flesh used of domestic animals
2 : having scleroderma used of human beings

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More from Merriam-Webster on hidebound

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hidebound

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hidebound

Spanish Central: Translation of hidebound

Nglish: Translation of hidebound for Spanish Speakers

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