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

Definition of hurtle

intransitive verb

: to move rapidly or forcefully

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

And yet ski jumping, a sport in which athletes hurtle down a ramp at 100 kilometers (60 miles) per hour before jumping the length of a football field, remains relatively obscure outside of Europe and Japan. Kristen Gelineau,, "Ski jumping 101: Aerodynamics key to success," 9 Feb. 2018 Shortly before Halloween, the chairman of Harvard's astronomy department openly declared that an interstellar object hurtling through our Solar System might just be part of an extraterrestrial craft. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Nailing down the nature of ‘Oumuamua—it’s probably a comet, but…," 29 Nov. 2018 On Tuesday, a subway escalator in Rome hurtled soccer fans downward as several metal plates collapsed, causing 20 injuries including a severed foot. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Escalators at UW light-rail station keep breaking down; Sound Transit will improve them — and open a staircase," 26 Oct. 2018 Fliers hurtled toward the thrill-seeking crowds or smashed up their crates in the countryside. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "‘Fly Girls’ Review: Freedom of the Air," 9 Aug. 2018 There’s nothing too luxurious about hurtling through the air in a claustrophobic metal tube, eating stale snack mix and inching away from your strange neighbor’s shoeless feet. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "This Is the World’s Most Luxurious Airline," 17 July 2018 The closer the satellite dips toward its fiery homecoming, the fewer the swoops; the fewer the swoops, the more confident Muelhaupt's forecast of where the spacecraft won't come hurtling through the atmosphere. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "All The Places Tiangong-1 Won’t Land (And Where It Still Might)," 30 Mar. 2018 The ball hurtled over Rogers Centre’s outfield fence, and with that, major leaguers had powered their way to 5,694 home runs with nearly two weeks left in the regular season. Dennis Lin,, "Padres swinging away as MLB home run record falls," 19 Sep. 2017 Critics will point to the A’s as a reason to send the whole idea hurtling into the sun, ignoring the fact that Oakland routinely used the approach in a regular season that ended with 97 victories. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Bullpen Day Strategy Remains a Work in Progress," 5 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hurtle

Statistics for hurtle

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hurtle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hurtle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hurtle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hurtle

Spanish Central: Translation of hurtle

Nglish: Translation of hurtle for Spanish Speakers

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).


a complex dispute or argument

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!