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 hurdling (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 hurdler (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 Even if all such hurdles were overcome, however, distance would still be a problem. The Economist, "How to talk to aliens," 28 Nov. 2019 Willie Davenport: In the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, the Troy native won the 110-meter hurdles in record time. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Alabama 200: State’s sports history littered with amazing, memorable moments," 27 Nov. 2019 His sensational one-handed grab at home against Houston as well as first-down-converting hurdles against the Titans and Chargers stand out as highlights. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Has tight end Eric Ebron played his final game with Colts?," 26 Nov. 2019 Both Garnett and Sullivan said passing gun legislation involves hurdles bills on other subjects don’t face because the topic is so sensitive. Alex Burness, The Denver Post, "“It’s coming. It is.”: Colorado Democrats explore gun legislation for 2020," 25 Nov. 2019 Despite the hurdles, the newsrooms still found radon. Beth Nakamura, The Oregonian - OregonLive.com, "The government urges private homeowners to test for cancer-causing radon gas. For low-income tenants of public housing, the government ignores its own advice.," 22 Nov. 2019 But several small business owners and landlords say a new tax would add yet another hurdle to doing business in the city — and won’t do much to address vacancies. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "SF ‘vacancy tax’ to fight empty storefronts headed to March ballot," 21 Nov. 2019 Cultural hurdles such as women not being permitted to talk to other men, the purdah system, and restrictions on mobility get in the way, too. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Most Indian women still have no freedom to get involved in politics," 20 Nov. 2019 To prepare, De Sena recommends doing box jumps, bounding exercises, eccentric focused plyometric exercises (working on landing mechanics) and hurdle jumps. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "What you need to know before signing up for a Tough Mudder or Spartan race," 19 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hockenson finished with three catches for 56 yards Sunday, and on at least two of those passes appeared to be considering hurdling a defender in the open field only to think better of that move. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Lions' T.J. Hockenson missed 4th-down play because he was being checked for concussion," 4 Nov. 2019 The 315-pound lineman tried to get the lead himself, unsuccessfully hurdling a Lancers receiver. J.l. Kirven, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Ohio high school football: Winton Woods stuns La Salle, 26-21, in a thriller," 26 Oct. 2019 First the Indianapolis Colts tight end hurdled a Houston Texans defender to gain a first down. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Eric Ebron makes crazy highlight-reel touchdown catch against Texans," 20 Oct. 2019 On the final play of the half, Jayden Daniels found Brandon Aiyuk, who hurdled a defender late in a 37-yard gain to the 10-yard line as time ran out. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Rewind: Arizona State wins season opener over Kent State," 29 Aug. 2019 The result: an array of environmental calamities, ranging from rising floods to species hurdling toward extinction. James Brooks, The Denver Post, "Bringing the world’s buried wetlands back from the dead," 5 Nov. 2019 The Blue Devils evened the score at 14 on the first play of the fourth quarter when Roberson had a 15-yard touchdown run – hurdling his way into the end zone with 11:53 left in the game. Mike May, sun-sentinel.com, "Roberson’s late heroics carry Pahokee to Muck Bowl win," 2 Nov. 2019 Texans defensive back Keion Crossen lunged at Ebron but came up empty as the tight end hurdled the would-be tackler, good for 16 yards and the first down. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Colts TE Eric Ebron regains his form, pulls off highlight-reel touchdown catch," 20 Oct. 2019 Harris stutter steps for timing before hurdling Roderick cleanly. Nathan Baird, cleveland.com, "Is Ohio State football’s defense ready for Clemson and Alabama? Buckeye Rewatch," 16 Sep. 2019

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

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hurdle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hurdles. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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