hurdle

noun
hur·​dle | \ˈhər-dᵊl \

Definition of hurdle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a portable panel usually of wattled withes and stakes used especially for enclosing land or livestock

b : a frame or sled formerly used in England for dragging traitors to execution

2a : an artificial barrier over which racers must leap knocked over a hurdle

b hurdles plural, track and field : any of various events in which racers must jump over a series of hurdles won a medal in the high hurdles The hurdles is his best event.

3 : barrier, obstacle a company that faces severe financial hurdles overcame many hurdles on her way to earning her degree

hurdle

verb
hurdled; hurdling\ ˈhərd-​liŋ , ˈhər-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of hurdle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to leap over especially while running (as in a sporting competition) hurdling an obstacle in a steeplechase

2 : overcome, surmount had to hurdle a series of competitive auditionsCollier's

Illustration of hurdle

Illustration of hurdle

Noun

hurdle 2a

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from hurdle

Verb

hurdler \ ˈhərd-​lər , ˈhər-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Hurdle vs. Hurtle

Indistinguishable in speech, the words hurtle and hurdle can be a confusing pair.

Hurtle is a verb with two meanings: "to move rapidly or forcefully," as in "The stone was hurtling through the air," and "to hurl or fling," as in "I hurtled the stone into the air." Note that the first use is intransitive: the stone isn't hurtling anything; it itself is simply hurtling. The second use is transitive: something was hurtled—in this case, a stone.

Hurdle is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, its most common meanings have to do with barriers: the ones that runners leap over, and the metaphorical extension of these, the figurative barriers and obstacles we try to similarly overcome. The verb hurdle has two meanings, and they are directly related to these. It can mean "to leap over especially while running," as in "She hurdled the fence," and it can mean "to overcome or surmount," as in "They've had to hurdle significant financial obstacles." The verb hurdle is always transitive; that is, there's always a thing being hurdled, whether it be a physical obstacle or a metaphorical one.

Examples of hurdle in a Sentence

Noun

He won a medal in the high hurdles. The company faces severe financial hurdles this year.

Verb

The horse hurdled the fence.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The decathlon consists of the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 run, 110 hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1,500 run. Dearbea Walker, Philly.com, "Germantown Academy's Kyle Garland to compete in decathlon at under-20 world championships," 9 July 2018 The project grabbed the spotlight earlier this year after a competing plan in New Hampshire ran into regulatory hurdles, and Massachusetts utilities looked east for another way to import Canadian power. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "In Need of Electricity, Massachusetts Looks to the North—Again," 6 July 2018 Gilbert won the 110-meter (13.53 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (36.18) at the UIL Class 6A state track and field championships. San Antonio Express-News, "Judson’s Gilbert honored again," 4 July 2018 Lyles now works at Akron as a hurdles, jumps and relays coach. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "Former Mizzou assistant track and field coach sues for racial discrimination," 28 June 2018 There are still hurdles, including years of inertia and competing congressional priorities. Nate Poppino, idahostatesman, "Nuclear tests gave these Idahoans cancer, they say. Will Congress support them now?," 27 June 2018 Visitors of the park will have access to a 45-minute session on the obstacle course to conquer elements like hurdles, balance beams, bridges, monkey bars and more. Daniela Sternitzky-di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "Floating water park opening on Lake Travis just in time for the peak of summer," 25 June 2018 One hurdle that surprised me is access to genomic and mutational tests. Chadi Nabhan, STAT, "Barriers to genomic testing get in the way of precision medicine," 20 June 2018 Florida’s Grant Holloway won the 110 hurdles (13.42 seconds) after helping the Gators to third in the 400 relay. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lake Highland Prep alum Deanna Hill contributes to dramatic USC outdoor track national title," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 13-year-old Waters, who will be an eighth-grader at Congress in the fall, also successfully defended her county hurdles championship. Gary Curreri, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Lady Cougars make history with first middle school track and field title," 24 June 2018 In completing this summer’s first-year player draft, the Royals have hurdled over what was arguably their biggest challenge of the 2018 season. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Dayton Moore on the Royals’ path after the draft and heading into trade season," 7 June 2018 The fastest-growing major economy in the world, India is expected to soon hurdle Britain as the globe’s fifth largest market. Carl Prine, sandiegouniontribune.com, "India's Modri struts across world stage," 1 June 2018 As far as Carr, Humphrey should have hurdled him on the depth chart. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, "Preston: Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey gearing up for a big season," 24 May 2018 For King’s in 1A, Brianna Oats won both girls hurdling events, anchored the winning 4x400 relay team and was second in the long jump. David Furones, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Anthony Schwartz runs wind-legal personal best in 100 at regionals," 26 Apr. 2018 Too fast, the shuttle would hurdle past the station. Dennis Hohenberger, Courant Community, "Astronaut Visits New England Air Museum," 17 Apr. 2018 Aside from hurdling those obstacles and changing her life, Richardson spent her spare time going inside some of the most dangerous places to teach poetry. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Renowned Poet and Activist Eccentrich Richardson Rebuilds After Heartbreaking Loss," 13 Apr. 2018 After Hurricane Ike hurdled into the Gulf Coast in 2008, the TEA created a provision changing how accountability ratings were given to districts and schools across Galveston and Houston. Shelby Webb, Houston Chronicle, "As STAAR testing begins, districts hit by Harvey unsure how scores will affect them," 5 Apr. 2018

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hurdle

Noun

Middle English hurdel, from Old English hyrdel; akin to Old High German hurt hurdle, Latin cratis wickerwork, hurdle

Verb

see hurdle entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near hurdle

hurcn

hurden

hurdies

hurdle

hurdle gate

hurdle race

hurdle racer

Statistics for hurdle

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hurdle

The first known use of hurdle was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hurdle

hurdle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hurdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of a series of barriers to be jumped over in a race

the hurdles : a race in which runners must jump over hurdles

: something that makes an achievement difficult

hurdle

verb

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

: to jump over (something) while running

: to deal with (a problem or difficulty) successfully

hurdle

noun
hur·​dle | \ˈhər-dᵊl \

Kids Definition of hurdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a barrier to be jumped in a race

2 hurdles plural : a race in which runners must jump over barriers

3 : obstacle He overcame many hurdles to become successful.

hurdle

verb
hurdled; hurdling

Kids Definition of hurdle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to leap over while running

2 : overcome sense 1 You have obstacles to hurdle before graduating.

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