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 loser will leave the World Cup having failed at the first high hurdle. Brian Straus, SI.com, "Quarterfinal Stage a Narrative Tipping Point for World Cup Contenders," 5 July 2018 The Trump Administration added even more hurdles, creating a backlog within the Defense Department. Author: Martha Mendoza, Garance Burke, Anchorage Daily News, "The US Army is quietly discharging immigrant recruits," 5 July 2018 Technical hurdles remain, such as delivering in urban areas, though regulations may pose a bigger challenge. Jack Nicas, New York Times, "Google’s Parent Births New Businesses: Balloons and Drones," 11 July 2018 Some groups say narrowing the rules will create too many hurdles for people with mental health issues. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Airlines Urge Clampdown on Flying With Pets," 10 July 2018 But several technical hurdles remain before fusion power becomes a reality, including finding a way to contain the superheated form of matter known as plasma in which nuclear fusion occurs. NBC News, "5 ways the world's fastest supercomputer could change the world," 18 June 2018 Alexis Gray, Senior Economist at Vanguard told Daybreak Europe’s Markus Karlsson and Mark Barton that there are too many hurdles for Italy to exit the Eurozone. Bloomberg.com, "Gray: Italian Euro Exit Unlikely," 4 June 2018 Clearing hurdles is the family business for Portage junior Trey Sebben. Dave Melton, Post-Tribune, "Three for Trey: Sebben wins both hurdle events and 400 relay as Portage captures sectional title," 18 May 2018 What’s even more remarkable is how many hurdles Collier had to overcome as a former foster child and first-generation college student to get there. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Graduate beats odds, leaves mark on Cal State San Marcos," 18 May 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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Learn More about hurdle

Dictionary Entries near hurdle

hurcn

hurden

hurdies

hurdle

hurdle gate

hurdle race

hurdle racer

Phrases Related to hurdle

the hurdles

Statistics for hurdle

Last Updated

10 Sep 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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