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hus·​tle ˈhə-səl How to pronounce hustle (audio)
hustled; hustling ˈhə-s(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce hustle (audio)

transitive verb

: to crowd or push roughly : jostle, shove
had been hustled into a jail cell with the other protesters
: to convey forcibly or hurriedly
… grabbed him by the arm and hustled him out the door …John Dos Passos
: to urge forward precipitately
hustling tourists from one museum to the next
: 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
: 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
: to sell or promote energetically and aggressively
hustling a new product
: to lure less skillful players into competing against oneself at (a gambling game)
hustle pool

intransitive verb

: hasten, hurry
you'd better hustle if you want to catch the bus
: 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
: to obtain money by fraud or deception
: to engage in prostitution
: 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.


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: energetic activity
I … went about the hustle of summer life.Stephen W. Kress
You stepped out of Penn Station into the dizzying hustle of Eighth Avenue …Colson Whitehead
I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city.
chiefly US : effort and energy in playing a sport
a baseball player who has been criticized for lack of hustle
The fans admire them for their hustle.
a player known more for his hustle than his talent
informal : a dishonest plan for getting money : scam
Now, the secret of any hustle is that you have to have information that the other guy doesn't have.Paul Newman
… a once-inspired con man on his last hustleMarilyn Stasio

Examples of hustle in a Sentence

Verb The guards hustled the prisoners into the jail. The star's manager hustled him out the back door of the theater to avoid the throngs of fans. He's not the most talented player on the team, but he always hustles. He's been hustling drugs for a few years. They hustle diamonds, furs—whatever people are buying.
Recent Examples on the Web
Despite this, current faculty are hustling to bring about change. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Apr. 2024 As with other trailer bills, it was hustled through the Assembly on a pro forma floor vote a few weeks later and then sat in the Senate for the next four months. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, 4 Apr. 2024 Whether running several miles or hustling to your airport gate, the soft, airy fabric causes minimal friction with each stride. Ali Faccenda, Travel + Leisure, 25 Mar. 2024 Nearby, her students are hustling around on a bright blue tarp, rolling out heavy cylinders of compressed gas and fiddling with boxes of electronics. Geoff Brumfiel, NPR, 25 Mar. 2024 Everybody around you is always doing something, always hustling. Alyson Zetta Williams, Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Lynch, 33, is like many hustling their way up the coaching ladder. Billy Witz, New York Times, 8 Mar. 2024 Security hustled the activists out, police officers showed up, and theater management asked the actors to clear the stage. Chloe Veltman, NPR, 5 Apr. 2024 The building’s engineer had to hustle to resolve the issue — which was pointed out by a college student — as the hurricane season was approaching. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024
Born and raised in Historic Filipinotown, Foronda opened HiFi Kitchen in 2019 and kept the doors open during the pandemic’s economic disruptions through pure hustle. Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2024 For the royal family, Balmoral Castle has long served as a retreat from the hustle and bustle—and the limelight—of London. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Apr. 2024 This week, Vogue spoke to Higgins about the process of crafting a three-person relationship in fiction, the hustle required to get her book into people’s hands, the contemporary writers who inspire her most, and more. Emma Specter, Vogue, 5 Apr. 2024 Those interviewed for the article said much of their dating outlook is shaped by an exasperation with endless hustle culture and ever-rising costs of living. Angela Yang, NBC News, 18 Mar. 2024 To be a woman of color, to be a woman with financial limitations, there’s a hustle, a drive, a diligence that’s like no other. Clayton Davis, Variety, 13 Mar. 2024 Officially incorporated in 1953, the city offers a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Seattle, with no shortage of charming restaurants and dazzling green spaces to explore within its limits. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 Editor’s picks Not even getting busted for speaking truth to power about the show’s estimable host, Emily Maitlis (Gillian Anderson, adding another name to her list of recent Distinguished, Steel-Belted IRL Women takes), can temper McAllister’s hustle and flow. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 4 Apr. 2024 The books below will suit a variety of outdoor readers, including those who get distracted easily by the hustle and bustle around them and those who want meaty works to dive into. Chelsea Leu, The Atlantic, 3 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hustle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1720, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of hustle was in 1720

Dictionary Entries Near hustle

Cite this Entry

“Hustle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


hus·​tle ˈhəs-əl How to pronounce hustle (audio)
hustled; hustling ˈhəs-(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce hustle (audio)
: to push, crowd, or force forward roughly
hustled the prisoner to jail
: to move or work rapidly and tirelessly
: to sell something to or get something from by energetic and especially dishonest activity
hustle noun
hustler noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hustle

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