hur·tle | \ˈhər-tᵊl \
hurtled; hurtling\ˈhərt-liŋ, ˈhər-tᵊl-iŋ \

Definition of hurtle 

intransitive verb

: to move rapidly or forcefully

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Other Words from hurtle

hurtle 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 hurtle in a Sentence

Boulders hurtled down the hill. We kept to the side of the road as cars and trucks hurtled past us. The protesters hurtled bottles at the police. He hurtled himself into the crowd.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The World Cup is hurtling towards the end of its 21st staging, and though soccer is the most global of all games, success at its finest tournament has been reserved for a handful of bluebloods. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "The chances a long-suffering nation wins the World Cup is greater than normal," 4 July 2018 Syria’s civil war was hurtling into its third brutal year in the spring of 2014. Wayne Martin Belger, Smithsonian, "Pushed to the Margins, These Brave People Are Pushing Back," 27 June 2018 America is hurtling headlong toward a public pension-fund crisis, caused by the habitual underfunding of retirement plans by state and local governments. Barry Ritholtz,, "The markets don't care about your wants or needs," 19 May 2018 This one is credited to Reed, Hedgerow’s producing artistic director, and Bonetti, and its numerous short scenes, punctuated by James P. Lewis’s blackout lighting, keep the action hurtling forward. Julia M. Klein,, "'His Girl Friday' at Hedgerow: Fast talk, fast pace," 2 July 2018 But the drama hinges on an outstanding performance by Jeremy Strong as Kendall, the aggressive son who is obviously in way over his head, but is too driven by ambition to stop himself from hurtling forward into destruction. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "HBO’s ‘Succession’ is a cruel catharsis, and perfect for our swampy time," 1 June 2018 The solar system is full of giant asteroids hurtling around, and even though space is big and mostly empty, there’s a decent chance that some of those asteroids are on a collision course with the Earth. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "New Spacecraft Will Head to Binary Asteroid to Help Protect the Planet," 25 June 2018 American soccer is hurtling down the same, bumpy road that ended at a soggy field in the Caribbean last October. Mark Zeigler,, "What's changed since U.S. failed to qualify for 2018 World Cup? Sadly, nothing," 11 June 2018 Traveling much farther than the fireball, a colossal pressure wave would hurtle forth faster than the speed of sound, generating winds up to 500 miles per hour. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for hurtle

Middle English hurtlen to collide, frequentative of hurten to cause to strike, hurt

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Statistics for hurtle

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for hurtle

The first known use of hurtle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for hurtle



English Language Learners Definition of hurtle

: to move or fall with great speed and force

: to cause (something or someone) to move or go with great speed and force


hur·tle | \ˈhər-tᵊl \
hurtled; hurtling

Kids Definition of hurtle

: to move or fall with great speed or force Rocks hurtled down the hill.

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Comments on hurtle

What made you want to look up hurtle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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