1

hurdle

noun hur·dle \ ˈhər-dᵊl \
Updated on: 7 May 2018
1 a : 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
2 a : 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

Examples of hurdle in a Sentence

  1. He won a medal in the high hurdles.

  2. The company faces severe financial hurdles this year.

Recent Examples of hurdle from the Web

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.

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.

Illustration of hurdle

illustration of hurdle

Origin and Etymology of hurdle

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

2

hurdle

verb
hurdled; hurdling play \ˈhərd-liŋ, ˈhər-dᵊl-iŋ\
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 auditions
  • Collier's

hurdler

play \ˈhərd-lər, ˈhər-dᵊl-ər\ noun

Examples of hurdle in a Sentence

  1. The horse hurdled the fence.

Recent Examples of hurdle from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of hurdle



HURDLE Defined for English Language Learners

hurdle

  • : 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

  • : to jump over (something) while running

  • : to deal with (a problem or difficulty) successfully


HURDLE Defined for Kids

1

hurdle

noun hur·dle \ ˈhər-dᵊl \
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.

2

hurdle

verb
hurdled; hurdling
1 : to leap over while running
2 : overcome 1
  • You have obstacles to hurdle before graduating.


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