hur·​tle | \ ˈhər-tᵊl How to pronounce hurtle (audio) \
hurtled; hurtling\ ˈhərt-​liŋ How to pronounce hurtle (audio) , ˈhər-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of hurtle

intransitive verb

: to move rapidly or forcefully

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Who’s to blame for a snow bank that acted like a ramp and caused cars in two separate accidents to hurtle off an Interstate 90 overpass and roll over multiple times? Laura Johnston, cleveland, 14 Apr. 2022 Skiers hurtle themselves down mountains faster than cars drive on highways. New York Times, 6 Feb. 2022 Independence Day and 2012 director Roland Emmerich finds a new way to destroy the world, or at least threaten its destruction, with this thriller in which the moon starts to hurtle to Earth. Keith Phipps, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2022 From Slovakia, Russian gas can hurtle into the Czech Republic, Hungary and Baumgarten, an Austrian gas turntable with connections to Germany, France and Italy. Joe Wallace, WSJ, 2 Feb. 2022 Between regaining fitness and learning new teammate dynamics, all three players will battle a steep learning curve as the Bulls hurtle toward the postseason. Julia Poe,, 27 Feb. 2022 After its fuel was spent, the rocket had been left to hurtle through space uncontrolled until Earth's gravity dragged it back to the ground. Katie Hunt, CNN, 6 Feb. 2022 Though dozens of mills have closed over the decades, trucks still hurtle down Highway 20 carrying stacks of hulking redwoods, easy to distinguish by their crimson heartwood. Los Angeles Times, 19 Feb. 2022 As other nations hurtle ahead in their Covid-19 vaccination programs, lagging uptake in the US of the third vaccine is concerning public health experts. Tara John And Isabelle Jani Friend, CNN, 16 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hurtle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hurtle


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on hurtle

Nglish: Translation of hurtle for Spanish Speakers


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