verb hus·tle \ ˈhə-səl \
Updated on: 21 Feb 2018

Definition of hustle

hustled; hustling play \ˈhə-s(ə-)liŋ\
transitive verb
1 a : to crowd or push roughly : jostle, shove
  • had been hustled into a jail cell with the other protesters
b : to convey forcibly or hurriedly
  • grabbed him by the arm and hustled him out the door
  • —John Dos Passos
c : to urge forward precipitately
  • hustling tourists from one museum to the next
2 a : to obtain by energetic activity usually used with up
  • hustle up new customers
  • try to hustle up some tickets to tonight's game
  • hustling up some grub
b : to sell something to or obtain something from (someone) by energetic and especially underhanded activity : swindle
  • hustling the suckers
  • an elaborate scam to hustle the elderly
c : to sell or promote energetically and aggressively
  • hustling a new product
d : to lure less skillful players into competing against oneself at (a gambling game)
  • hustle pool
intransitive verb
1 : shove, press
2 : hasten, hurry
  • you'd better hustle if you want to catch the bus
3 a : to make strenuous efforts to obtain especially money or business
  • our quartet was out hustling … and we knew we stood good to take in a lot of change before the night was over
  • —Louis Armstrong
b : to obtain money by fraud or deception
c : to engage in prostitution
4 : to play a game or sport in an alert aggressive manner
  • She's not the most talented player on the team, but she always hustles.




play \ˈhə-slər\ noun

Examples of hustle in a Sentence

  1. The guards hustled the prisoners into the jail.

  2. The star's manager hustled him out the back door of the theater to avoid the throngs of fans.

  3. He's not the most talented player on the team, but he always hustles.

  4. He's been hustling drugs for a few years.

  5. They hustle diamonds, furs—whatever people are buying.

Recent Examples of hustle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hustle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of hustle

Dutch husselen to shake, from Middle Dutch hutselen, frequentative of hutsen

HUSTLE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of hustle for English Language Learners

  • : to quickly move or push (someone) often in a rough way

  • : to move or work in a quick and energetic way

  • : to play a sport with a lot of energy and effort

HUSTLE Defined for Kids



verb hus·tle \ ˈhə-səl \

Definition of hustle for Students

hustled; hustling
1 : to push, crowd, or force forward roughly
  • Officers hustled the prisoner to jail.
2 : to move or work rapidly and tirelessly
  • They're hustling to get the job done.
  • He hustled back to class.




Definition of hustle for Students

: energetic activity
  • The hustle and bustle of the school day began.

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