hurdle

noun
hur·​dle | \ ˈhər-dᵊl How to pronounce hurdle (audio) \

Definition of hurdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a portable panel usually of wattled withes and stakes used especially for enclosing land or livestock
b : a frame or sled formerly used in England for dragging traitors to execution
2a : an artificial barrier over which racers must leap knocked over a hurdle
b hurdles plural, track and field : any of various events in which racers must jump over a series of hurdles won a medal in the high hurdles The hurdles is his best event.
3 : barrier, obstacle a company that faces severe financial hurdles overcame many hurdles on her way to earning her degree

hurdle

verb
hurdled; hurdling\ ˈhərd-​liŋ How to pronounce hurdle (audio) , ˈhər-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of hurdle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to leap over especially while running (as in a sporting competition) hurdling an obstacle in a steeplechase
2 : overcome, surmount had to hurdle a series of competitive auditionsCollier's

Illustration of hurdle

Illustration of hurdle

Noun

hurdle 2a

In the meaning defined above

Other Words from hurdle

Verb

hurdler \ ˈhərd-​lər How to pronounce hurdle (audio) , ˈhər-​dᵊl-​ər \ 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 hurdle in a Sentence

Noun He won a medal in the high hurdles. The company faces severe financial hurdles this year. Verb The horse hurdled the fence.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The first big hurdle to tapping Utah’s renewable energy is getting to it. Luke Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Jan. 2022 The second hurdle is finalizing how the lottery that will be used to issue short-term rental licenses will operate. San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Dec. 2021 But the main hurdle the designers have faced is mastering the cavitation—the air bubbles that build up as the foils move faster—at speeds that no sailing vessel has ever reached. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 27 Dec. 2021 But Wednesday’s committee vote helped the legislation clear a key hurdle that increases its likelihood of becoming law this time. Allyson Waller, Chron, 7 Oct. 2021 In a letter Sunday to Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested that the House will take a single vote that would clear an initial hurdle for both a budget resolution and a separate infrastructure bill. Alan Fram, ajc, 16 Aug. 2021 In a letter Sunday to Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested that the House will take a single vote that would clear an initial hurdle for both a budget resolution and a separate infrastructure bill. Alan Fram, chicagotribune.com, 15 Aug. 2021 In a letter Sunday to Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi, of California, suggested that the House will take a single vote that would clear an initial hurdle for both a budget resolution and a separate infrastructure bill. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Aug. 2021 The Senate moved closer to passing a $1 trillion infrastructure package Saturday after lawmakers from both parties came together and voted to clear a key procedural hurdle. CBS News, 7 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One defender who could keep the quarterback from further silencing the critics who had assailed his inconsistency and maddening tendency to attempt — and fail — to hurdle defenders. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2021 Labelle, too, was able to swiftly hurdle his own conundrum. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2021 Once fall settles in, the holidays hurdle in quickly, with a few final opportunities for retail therapy. Sarah Madaus, SELF, 3 Nov. 2021 This is the next transportation obstacle that Walmart, and other retailers, need to hurdle. Steve Banker, Forbes, 1 Nov. 2021 Hassan tried, but failed, to hurdle over Kenya's Edinah Jebitok, who tumbled just in front of her as runners jostled for position at the start of the final lap. Gerald Imray, Star Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 Hassan tried, but failed, to hurdle over Kenya's Edinah Jebitok, who tumbled just in front of her as runners jostled for position at the start of the final lap. Gerald Imray, Star Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 Hassan tried, but failed, to hurdle over Kenya's Edinah Jebitok, who tumbled just in front of her as runners jostled for position at the start of the final lap. Gerald Imray, Star Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 Steve Allen, 67, of Walnut Creek, California, apparently tried to hurdle Devil’s Churn, a narrow boiling inlet just off Highway 101 south of Yachats on the central Oregon coast. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hurdle.' 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 hurdle

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hurdle

Noun and Verb

Middle English hurdel, from Old English hyrdel; akin to Old High German hurt hurdle, Latin cratis wickerwork, hurdle

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Time Traveler for hurdle

Time Traveler

The first known use of hurdle was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near hurdle

hurdies

hurdle

hurdle gate

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Statistics for hurdle

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hurdle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hurdle. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for hurdle

hurdle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hurdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of a series of barriers to be jumped over in a race
: a race in which runners must jump over hurdles
: something that makes an achievement difficult

hurdle

verb

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

: to jump over (something) while running
: to deal with (a problem or difficulty) successfully

hurdle

noun
hur·​dle | \ ˈhər-dᵊl How to pronounce hurdle (audio) \

Kids Definition of hurdle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a barrier to be jumped in a race
2 hurdles plural : a race in which runners must jump over barriers
3 : obstacle He overcame many hurdles to become successful.

hurdle

verb
hurdled; hurdling

Kids Definition of hurdle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to leap over while running
2 : overcome sense 1 You have obstacles to hurdle before graduating.

More from Merriam-Webster on hurdle

Nglish: Translation of hurdle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hurdle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hurdle

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