hurdle

noun
hur·​dle | \ ˈhər-dᵊl How to pronounce hurdle (audio) \

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 How to pronounce hurdle (audio) , 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 How to pronounce hurdle (audio) , 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 Weakness in all its forms is just another hurdle to quickly overcome. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Emotional Miseducation of Tiger Woods," 15 Jan. 2021 Another hurdle: Each vaccine vial comes with multiple doses. Anchorage Daily News, "‘Things came at everybody really fast’: The sometimes rocky path of Alaska’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout," 10 Jan. 2021 Even among the literate, many read and write in one of India’s more than 30 official languages—another hurdle to accessing the internet on personal computers and laptops with English keyboards. Yasaswini Sampathkumar, Wired, "In India, Smartphones and Cheap Data Are Giving Women a Voice," 4 Jan. 2021 Logistics aside, another hurdle that will continue to take time to overcome is vaccine hesitancy, Salk said. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "'It's going to be a long road': His father developed the polio vaccine. This is what he thinks about COVID-19.," 25 Dec. 2020 For Braverman-Blumenstyk, the pandemic is yet another hurdle in her decade-long drive to promote women in technology. Yaacov Benmeleh, Bloomberg.com, "Microsoft Broadens Help for Women Workers in Pandemic-Hit Israel," 21 Dec. 2020 After the electoral college, another hurdle remains. Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, "Electoral college picks Biden, yet Trump’s bid to keep power could have lasting effect," 14 Dec. 2020 The coronavirus pandemic created another hurdle for those coaches — and coaches throughout Louisiana and across the country. Chris Dabe, NOLA.com, "Brother Martin, Newman coaches take friendship deep into select playoffs," 5 Dec. 2020 Commissioner and board president Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said winter will be posing another hurdle for the struggling restaurants that are already dealing with capacity limits and less outdoor seating. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Deadline for Carroll County Restaurant Relief set for Dec. 8," 4 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb David Njoku always seems to be leaping through the air, either jumping for a high ball or trying to hurdle other players. cleveland, "Our favorite photos from Cleveland Browns’ 20-6 win over New York Giants: cleveland.com photographers," 21 Dec. 2020 Haskell can hurdle a teammate, catch a football and complete a pass in one motion. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Aztecs have talented, confident commit in Arizona prep QB Will Haskell Jr.," 15 Dec. 2020 Nix went airborne in an attempt to hurdle a Gamecocks defender, only to be dropped out of bounds short of the first down in the eventual loss. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Bo Nix’s ‘fine balance’ with running ability a ‘huge’ development for Auburn," 10 Nov. 2020 Against Texas Tech, Robinson tried to hurdle a Red Raider and experienced a scary landing on his head and neck. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "Li’l Ricky? Freshman RB Bijan Robinson still just finding his way as he draws comparison to Texas legend," 12 Nov. 2020 Etienne tried to hurdle Bramblett before getting tackled with no time left in the half. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Notre Dame-Clemson: Watch Jay Bramblett of Alabama stop Travis Etienne’s potential Kick-6," 8 Nov. 2020 Aiyuk looks like a genuine football player who happens to have the ability to hurdle prospective tacklers. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk hurdles for touchdown, shows signs of bright future," 4 Oct. 2020 Robinson tried to hurdle a Tech defender, but instead was upended and hit square in the middle of his back. Marcus Krum, Dallas News, "Longhorns plan to continue drill tackling after defensive struggles in win over Texas Tech," 28 Sep. 2020 The Texas running back attempted to hurdle a defender and instead ended up being flipped in mid-air before landing on his head. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Putting the entire Big Ten Conference on upset watch for 2020: College football Monday Madness," 28 Sep. 2020

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 and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for hurdle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hurdle

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hurdle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hurdle. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for hurdle

hurdle

noun
How to pronounce hurdle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hurdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of a series of barriers to be jumped over in a race
: 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 How to pronounce hurdle (audio) \

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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Comments on hurdle

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