1. narrow and rigid in opinion; inflexible: a hidebound pedant.
  2. oriented toward or confined to the past; extremely conservative: a hidebound philosopher.
  3. (of a horse, cow, etc.) having the back and ribs bound tightly by the hide.


  1. restricted by petty rules, a conservative attitude, etc
  2. (of cattle, etc) having the skin closely attached to the flesh as a result of poor feeding
  3. (of trees) having a very tight bark that impairs growth

1550s, from hide (n.1) + past tense of bind (v.). Original reference is to emaciated cattle with skin sticking closely to backbones and ribs; metaphoric sense of “restricted by narrow attitudes” is first recorded c.1600.

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