[ hob-uhl ]
/ ˈhɒb əl /

verb (used without object), hob·bled, hob·bling.

to walk lamely; limp.
to proceed irregularly and haltingly: His verses hobble with their faulty meters.

verb (used with object), hob·bled, hob·bling.


Origin of hobble

1300–50; Middle English hobelen, apparently akin to hob protuberance, uneven ground, and to Dutch hobbelen, German hoppeln to jolt
Related formshob·bler, nounun·hob·bled, adjectiveun·hob·bling, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hobble

British Dictionary definitions for hobble


/ (ˈhɒbəl) /



Also (for senses 2, 5): hopple
Derived Formshobbler, noun

Word Origin for hobble

C14: probably from Low German; compare Flemish hoppelen, Middle Dutch hobbelen to stammer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper