- (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 hamstring
Feinstein worried that this language might hamstring American foreign policy decision makers as a result.Feinstein Under Fire For Israel Comments
January 15, 2014
Try single leg curls to really test your hamstring and glute strength.5 Exercises to Get Ski and Snowboard Ready
January 2, 2014
Miranda Green on whether a federal law is needed—or will hamstring cops.After Trayvon Martin: Is It Time to End Racial Profiling?
May 13, 2012
What madness, then, for the ex-speaker to hamstring himself by pledging not to go negative.Newt Gingrich Targets Romney, Returns to Cage-Fighting Roots
January 5, 2012
Following this, at the other end of the gym, Keith handed me a pole for hamstring extensions.Does Sexercise Work?
May 26, 2010
They rushed on the count and his lances, and began to hamstring the horses.The Days of Chivalry
Ernest Louis Victor Jules L'Epine
He could not reach the hamstring, as his horse could not gain the proper position.In the Heart of Africa
Samuel White Baker
Would it not be safer to hamstring the bull before he comes on?The Night-Born
The boy then sprang forward, and raised a knife as if to hamstring the pony.Captured by the Navajos
Charles A. Curtis
Hamstring their horses, and burn their chariots with fire, etc..
- 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 hamstring
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.