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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 customerstry to hustle up some tickets to tonight's gamehustling 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 hustle Marilyn Stasio

Example Sentences

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
People who hustle are always looking for new opportunities. Udit Goenka, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 There are men who hustle, men who disillusion their women, and men who lie — to themselves as much as others., 1 Sep. 2022 Having missed road games for the births of his two sons, Spoelstra this time did not have to hustle back to South Florida, instead afforded the opportunity to join the team’s camp in the Bahamas later in the week. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 26 Sep. 2022 For a moment, Lil Baby imagines how his life would have played out had he not been forced to hustle for money to help his family, helmed by a single mother. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 22 Aug. 2022 Brewers are able to hop in their vehicles and travel to the farms, fill bags with the fragrant green hop cones, and hustle back to the brewhouse. oregonlive, 24 Sep. 2022 Meanwhile, Ava runs a side hustle out of the school parking lot. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 18 Sep. 2022 Ohtani then had to try to hustle back to first to prevent a double play. Sarah Valenzuela, Los Angeles Times, 14 Aug. 2022 This distinguishes Risktaker from blasé coke rappers who only hustle on social media. Will Dukes, Rolling Stone, 22 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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 27 Nov. 2022.

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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