hobble

1 of 2

verb

hob·​ble ˈhä-bəl How to pronounce hobble (audio)
hobbled; hobbling ˈhä-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce hobble (audio)

intransitive verb

: to move along unsteadily or with difficulty
especially : to limp along

transitive verb

1
: to cause to limp : make lame : cripple
2
[probably alteration of hopple to hobble]
a
: to fasten together the legs of (an animal, such as a horse) to prevent straying : fetter
b
: to place under handicap : hamper, impede
hobbler noun

hobble

2 of 2

noun

1
: a hobbling movement
2
archaic : an awkward situation
3
: something used to hobble an animal

Example Sentences

Verb She picked up her cane and hobbled across the room. She is sometimes hobbled by self-doubt. He has been hobbled by a knee injury.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Iced tea is served in large Styrofoam cups, and old men in boots hobble up to the counter to pay. Men's Health, 28 Nov. 2022 Some employees are worried that the dividend payment will hobble the company financially and threaten their pensions. Gretchen Morgenson, NBC News, 5 Nov. 2022 But the purpose of the policy is clear enough: to hobble China’s quest to catch up with the U.S. in crucial industries of the future. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 25 Oct. 2022 Since then, the Flying Fox has been caught up in the dragnet of international sanctions designed to hobble the lifestyles of the oligarchs who help sustain President Vladimir V. Putin’s rule. Carlotta Gall, New York Times, 23 Oct. 2022 The year-long suspension continues to hobble the transit system as Metro scrambles to find enough trains. Justin George, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2022 As the global economy evolves apace, so do the vectors by which currency chaos can hobble it. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, 28 July 2022 That could hobble the government's ability to provide relief to workers in case of a downturn, such as George W. Bush's 2008 Economic Stimulus Act, which sent stimulus checks in the wake of the Great Recession. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 9 Nov. 2022 Actions elsewhere at the Fed, though, could hobble the world’s ability to respond to and mitigate the climate crisis. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 9 Sep. 2022
Noun
Through her years with Lil Hobbs, Kathryn has helped the dog with several health issues, including cataracts, arthritis, loose and fractured teeth, and permanent a hobble in the pup's walk. People Staff, PEOPLE.com, 20 Apr. 2022 The hobble has straps that bind the ankles together, and can also attach to someone's waist. Fox News, 21 Feb. 2022 The hobble has straps that bind the ankles together, and can also attach to someone's waist. CBS News, 21 Feb. 2022 The department is replacing the hobble with a device that doesn't allow legs to be bent backwards. NBC News, 24 May 2021 Another potential reason not to use the hobble was that the officers had called for paramedics. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, 6 Apr. 2021 The woman was placed in a soft restraint hobble, which controls a person’s ankles and can be connected to a waist chain or belt. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, 17 July 2020 Aurora police policy states that using a hobble on someone increases the risk for medical complications, including positional asphyxia. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, 17 July 2020 The officers then connected the hobble to the girl’s handcuffs, forcing her into a sitting position, according to the lawsuit. Shelly Bradbury, The Denver Post, 10 Dec. 2019 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English hoblen; akin to Middle Dutch hobbelen to turn, roll

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1726, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hobble was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near hobble

Cite this Entry

“Hobble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobble. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

hobble 1 of 2

verb

hob·​ble ˈhäb-əl How to pronounce hobble (audio)
hobbled; hobbling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce hobble (audio)
1
a
: to walk with difficulty : limp
hobble along on crutches
b
: to make lame
hobbled by an ankle injury
2
a
: to keep from straying by tying two legs together
hobble a horse

hobble

2 of 2

noun

1
: a hobbling walk
2
: something used to hobble an animal

Medical Definition

hobble 1 of 2

verb

hob·​ble ˈhäb-əl How to pronounce hobble (audio)
hobbled; hobbling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce hobble (audio)

intransitive verb

: to move along unsteadily or with difficulty
especially : to limp along

transitive verb

1
: to cause to limp : make lame : cripple
2
: to fasten together the legs of (as a horse) to prevent straying

hobble

2 of 2

noun

: something used to hobble an animal

More from Merriam-Webster on hobble

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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