- to walk lamely; limp.
- to proceed irregularly and haltingly: His verses hobble with their faulty meters.
- to cause to limp: His tight shoes hobbled him.
- to fasten together the legs of (a horse, mule, etc.) by short lengths of rope to prevent free motion.
- to impede; hamper the progress of.
- an act of hobbling; an uneven, halting gait; a limp.
- a rope, strap, etc., used to hobble an animal.
- hobbles, a leg harness for controlling the gait of a pacer.
- Archaic. an awkward or difficult situation.
Origin of hobble
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hobble
This, more than any one scandal, is likely to hobble the party for the next few election cycles.Paging Rose Mary Woods: Obama’s Unbelievable Missing IRS Emails
June 18, 2014
A few days before, she had managed to stand and hobble around the ward.Surviving Syria’s Incendiary Bomb Attacks
Paul Adrian Raymond
December 11, 2013
Hardly able to hobble into the room on his bruised and engorged feet, he sported black eyes.Despite Pledge, Syrian Rebels Continue to Torture
August 15, 2012
Just the distraction that this kind of case creates can hobble even the most successful, well-run company.Antitrust Suit Could Bring Down Google
April 27, 2012
Thus neither animal could so much as hobble one way or the other.Blazed Trail Stories
Stewart Edward White
You know about as much of a motor boat as a pig knows of the hobble skirt.Boy Scouts in the Philippines
G. Harvey Ralphson
The enemy was leading the general, who could just hobble, and Fitz, back to the camp.Pluck on the Long Trail
Edwin L. Sabin
It must be hard work for him to hobble through the world on his wooden leg.Aunt Amy
The excitement being over, it was with very great difficulty the crippled savage could hobble his way back to the camp.
- (intr) to walk with a lame awkward movement
- (tr) to fetter the legs of (a horse) in order to restrict movement
- to progress unevenly or with difficulty
- (tr) to hamper or restrict (the actions or scope of a person, organization, etc)
- a strap, rope, etc, used to hobble a horse
- a limping gait
- British dialect a difficult or embarrassing situation
- a castrated ferret
Word Origin and History for hobble
c.1300, hoblen "to rock back and forth, toss up and down," probably related to its Dutch cognate hobbelen (which, however, is not recorded before late 15c.).
Meaning "to walk lamely" is from c.1400. Transitive sense of "tie the legs (of an animal)" first recorded 1831, probably an alteration of 16c. hopple, cognate with Flemish hoppelen "to rock, jump," which also is related to Dutch hobbelen. Sense of "hamper, hinder" is c.1870. Related: Hobbled; hobbling. The noun is 1727, from the verb.