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

Definition of hustle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : 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
2a : to obtain by energetic activity usually used with uphustle up new customerstry to hustle up some tickets to tonight's gamehustling 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

2 : hasten, hurry you'd better hustle if you want to catch the bus
3a : 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.



Definition of hustle (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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.
b 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
2 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Charlie Moore scored from third, and Jim Gantner hustled around with a head-first slide to score from second. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Cecil Cooper's single gives the Brewers their only American League pennant," 20 May 2020 With airports diminished as a source of ready customers and with many local shelter-in-place orders limiting travel, rental companies are hustling for business. Jeremy Lott, Washington Examiner, "The car rental industry is taking a beating from reduced airline travel," 14 May 2020 Moments later, Nestle employees Laura Hardin and Dana Jones hustled out of the building, like servers at a Swensons, carrying drinks and bags of food for the frontline workers who showed up for the free drive-thru-style meal. Joshua Gunter, cleveland, "Nestle provides free drive-thru meals to frontline workers in coronavirus pandemic (photos)," 7 May 2020 Employees at Belles & Beaux hustled around the boutique Thursday, hanging colorful hair bows and restocking shelves with the latest in kids’ fashion. Madison Iszler,, "With masks and Lysol cans, stores and malls in San Antonio prepare to reopen Friday," 30 Apr. 2020 And our wagon hustled to a computer-limited top speed of 130 mph. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1998 Mercedes-Benz E320 Wagon," 27 Apr. 2020 Believing the tests would detect an active infection, Laredo leaders hustled to set up a drive-through testing site to welcome anxious residents the following morning. Jeremy Schwartz, ProPublica, "He Spent $500,000 to Buy Coronavirus Tests. Health Officials Say They’re Unreliable.," 10 Apr. 2020 Work crews are still hustling to finish reconstruction of the 52-story Elm Street skyscraper by later this year. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Downtown Dallas’ largest skyscraper project is still on schedule," 30 Apr. 2020 At Hisense, a Chinese company that exports televisions to the United States from a factory in Rosarito, just miles from the border, workers are hustling to keep up production to meet the demands of Americans stuck at home. Natalie Kitroeff, New York Times, "As Workers Fall Ill, U.S. Presses Mexico to Keep American-Owned Plants Open," 30 Apr. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of hustle


1720, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hustle


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

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Time Traveler for hustle

Time Traveler

The first known use of hustle was in 1720

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Statistics for hustle

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hustle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for hustle


How to pronounce hustle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hustle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of hustle (Entry 2 of 2)

: energetic activity
chiefly US : effort and energy in playing a sport
informal : a dishonest plan for getting money


hus·​tle | \ ˈhə-səl How to pronounce hustle (audio) \
hustled; hustling

Kids Definition of hustle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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.



Kids Definition of hustle (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hustle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hustle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hustle

Spanish Central: Translation of hustle

Nglish: Translation of hustle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hustle for Arabic Speakers

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