hur·​tle | \ ˈhər-tᵊl How to pronounce hurtle (audio) \
hurtled; hurtling\ ˈhərt-​liŋ How to pronounce hurtling (audio) , 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 Austin Smith were hurtling over the Pacific Ocean at 280 miles per hour. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines," 2 Jan. 2020 The football hurtled through the Pittsburgh air, end over end, its trajectory unknowable but its magnitude obvious. Jonas Shaffer,, "Weird, wild, but a win: Ravens outlast Steelers in overtime to end two-game losing streak," 7 Oct. 2019 Thus, Parasite is hurtling into awards season with tremendous momentum. David Canfield,, "Parasite deserves to be one of the year's major Oscar players. Can it be?," 10 Oct. 2019 Chan Long Hei—Bloomberg via Getty Images The unrest has turned parts of Hong Kong into battle zones on weekends and holidays, wreaked havoc on the tourism industry and sent the $360 billion economy hurtling toward recession. Katya Kazakina, Fortune, "As Tear Gas Filled Hong Kong’s Streets, the Ultra-Rich Indulged in Art and Wine," 8 Oct. 2019 A few months later and 1,700 miles away in Washington, the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is hurtling forward with House Democrats behind the wheel. Anchorage Daily News, "Texas Rep. Will Hurd, Republican and former CIA officer, at center of impeachment fight," 7 Oct. 2019 The current slump can largely be ascribed to policies followed in the mistaken belief that India was hurtling along at 7-8% annual growth, when the reality was more like 5-6%. The Economist, "EconomyA downturn in India reveals the desperate need for deeper reform," 24 Oct. 2019 Police officers and investigators testified Thursday that Aguilera-Mederos hurtled down the interstate in the right shoulder during rush hour, chasing multiple cars off the side of the road to avoid being hit. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Investigators detail harrowing I-70 crash that killed 4 as judge advances case toward trial," 11 July 2019 That the Voyagers are still hurtling through the heavens illustrates a serious point. National Geographic, "Countdown to a new era inSpace," 17 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for hurtle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hurtle

Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hurtle.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for hurtle


How to pronounce hurtle (audio)

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 How to pronounce hurtle (audio) \
hurtled; hurtling

Kids Definition of hurtle

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hurtle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hurtle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hurtle

Spanish Central: Translation of hurtle

Nglish: Translation of hurtle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hurtle

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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