- 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 for hobble on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hobbling
This time, Strike is hobbling all over London searching for Owen Quine, an author gone with no warning and no word for 10 days.Speed Read: J.K. Rowling Pens Another Winner With ‘The Silkworm’
June 13, 2014
The hobbling skirts and the exaggerated peplums and darts looked like the wild dreams of a woman … as envisioned by a man.Designing for the One Percent at New York Fashion Week
February 14, 2012
We'll keep weeding out the troublesome ones, keep fattening and hobbling the submissive ones.The Extinction Parade: An Original Zombie Story by Max Brooks
January 14, 2011
His exordiums in particular were often hobbling and always unassuming.Patrick Henry
Moses Coit Tyler
Just then he saw, hobbling along, a wrinkled, ragged old woman.
"We'll go just as fast as you want to," said Tom, hobbling along to the stables.Ruth Fielding and the Gypsies
Alice B. Emerson
How she adored him, in spite of his great humps and his now hobbling legs!The Secret of the Storm Country
Grace Miller White
A hobbling figure appeared for a moment on the side of the ravine.Ruth Fielding Down East
Alice B. Emerson
- (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 hobbling
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.