- (in humans and other primates) any of the tendons that bound the ham of the knee.
- (in quadrupeds) the great tendon at the back of the hock.
- to disable by cutting the hamstring or hamstrings; cripple.
- to render powerless or useless; thwart: Their efforts were hamstrung by stubborn pride.
Origin of hamstring
Examples from the Web for hamstrung
Consumers, hamstrung by low confidence and a weak recovery, are reluctant to spend and borrow.Bad News for People Who Like Bad News
December 20, 2013
Hamstrung by the lower standards of the boom years, it reported that it was still coping with the overhang of the bubble.Freddie Mac’s Profits Obscure Housing-Boom Damage
March 3, 2013
But Netanyahu may be hamstrung by a lack of international support, reports Dan Ephron.Large Israeli Offensive in Gaza Looms After Hamas Rocket Attacks
November 13, 2012
Hamstrung and weakened, labor would be in poor position to fight Brown as it did Davis and Schwarzenegger.Jerry Brown's Zen Budget Strategy
February 19, 2011
If I am to administer this office, I will not be hamstrung by constant 36 Executive interference.The Clansman
We say when we cut these large muscles that we have “hamstrung” the animal.The Later Cave-Men
Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
It was the horse Tommasino had ridden; it was hamstrung, and its throat had been cut.The Chronicles of Count Antonio
Had he been less heavily muscled, this attack might have hamstrung him.Red Fox
Charles G. D. Roberts
I struggled to rise, but I could only flounder like a hamstrung horse.The Exploits Of Brigadier Gerard
Arthur Conan Doyle
- anatomy any of the tendons at the back of the kneeRelated adjective: popliteal
- the large tendon at the back of the hock in the hind leg of a horse, etc
- to cripple by cutting the hamstring of
- to ruin or thwart
Word Origin and History for hamstrung
1640s, "to disable, render useless," a figurative verbal extension from the noun hamstring "tendon at the back of the knee" (1560s), from ham "bend of the knee" (see ham (n.1)) + string. Cutting this would render a person or animal lame. Related: Hamstrung.
[I]n hamstring, -string is not the verb string; we do not string the ham, but do something to the tendon called the hamstring; the verb, that is, is made not from the two words ham & string, but from the noun hamstring. It must therefore make hamstringed. [Fowler]
- Any of the tendons at the rear hollow of the human knee.
- hamstrings The hamstring muscle.
- The large tendon in the back of the hind tarsal joint of the quadruped.
- A powerful group of muscles at the back of the thigh that arise in the hip and pelvis and insert as strong tendons behind the knee. The hamstring bends the knee and helps to straighten the hip.