- (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 hamstringed
She was hamstringed; and expired a few days after at Glocester in the most acute torments.
He defended himself desperately, and would have cut his way through them, had they not hamstringed his horse.The History of England from the Accession of James II.
Thomas Babington Macaulay
- 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 hamstringed
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.