hurtle

verb
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

The latest data suggests the object is several kilometers across and hurtling into the inner solar system at about 30 kilometers a second. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "A Second Interstellar Object May Be Streaking through Our Solar System," 13 Sep. 2019 Myers uprooted a Florida Atlantic defender and sent him hurtling in that air and nearly into an official. Nathan Baird, cleveland.com, "Jonah Jackson and Ohio State football’s offensive line continuing to come together," 6 Sep. 2019 Lethal, largely autonomous weaponry isn’t entirely new: A handful of such systems have been deployed for decades, though only in limited, defensive roles, such as shooting down missiles hurtling toward ships. The Atlantic, "Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill," 3 Sep. 2019 But after a white supremacist gunman massacred 22 people in El Paso, the political world hurtled on Monday toward a more expansive, and potentially more turbulent, confrontation over racist extremism. Alexander Burns, New York Times, "Shootings Spur Debate on Extremism and Guns, With Trump on Defense," 5 Aug. 2019 Five years later, Danger Wheel is expected to draw more than last year's crowd of 10,000 racers and spectators – who are encouraged to throw water balloons at the racers who are hurtling downhill and over ramps on steel big wheels. Andrea Reeves, Cincinnati.com, "How this neighborhood tricycle-racing party continues to grow up without growing up," 23 July 2019 During the winter, his tall, lanky frame can be seen hurtling down ski slopes on his snowboard. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Denver’s Tim Gill has donated half a billion dollars to LGBTQ equality. Now the software geek turned activist reflects on 25 years of the struggle.," 14 July 2019 During a real launch, according to company plans, the rocket and its payload will fall for four or five seconds, then ignite and hurtle toward space. Samantha Masunaga, latimes.com, "Virgin Orbit drops a rocket from the wing of a plane in critical test," 10 July 2019 Amelia Hoffman slams on the gas and screams obscenities out the window as her hatchback hurtles across the open field. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "If You Can't Beat It, Code It," 17 Dec. 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 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hurtle

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

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More Definitions for hurtle

hurtle

verb

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

hurtle

verb
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

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

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