hobble [hob-uhl] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for hobble on Thesaurus.com verb (used without object), hob·bled, hob·bling.

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

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

  1. to cause to limp: His tight shoes hobbled him.
  2. to fasten together the legs of (a horse, mule, etc.) by short lengths of rope to prevent free motion.
  3. to impede; hamper the progress of.


  1. an act of hobbling; an uneven, halting gait; a limp.
  2. a rope, strap, etc., used to hobble an animal.
  3. hobbles, a leg harness for controlling the gait of a pacer.
  4. Archaic. an awkward or difficult situation.

Origin of hobble 1300–50; Middle English hobelen, apparently akin to hob protuberance, uneven ground, and to Dutch hobbelen, German hoppeln to joltRelated formshob·bler, nounun·hob·bled, adjectiveun·hob·bling, adjectiveSynonyms for hobble See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com 5. hinder, restrict, frustrate, cramp.Antonyms for hobble 5. aid, assist, benefit. Related Words for hobble falter, stagger, shuffle, stumble, halt, hinder, hamstring, hamper, dodder, totter, clump, scuff, hitch, hog-tie, cramp, clog, fetter, leash, trammel, shackle Examples from the Web for hobble Contemporary Examples of hobble

  • This, more than any one scandal, is likely to hobble the party for the next few election cycles.

    Paging Rose Mary Woods: Obama’s Unbelievable Missing IRS Emails

    James Poulos

    June 18, 2014

  • A few days before, she had managed to stand and hobble around the ward.

    Surviving Syria’s Incendiary Bomb Attacks

    Paul Adrian Raymond

    December 11, 2013

  • Hardly able to hobble into the room on his bruised and engorged feet, he sported black eyes.

    Despite Pledge, Syrian Rebels Continue to Torture

    Jamie Dettmer

    August 15, 2012

  • Just the distraction that this kind of case creates can hobble even the most successful, well-run company.

    Antitrust Suit Could Bring Down Google

    Dan Lyons

    April 27, 2012

  • Historical Examples of hobble

  • Thus neither animal could so much as hobble one way or the other.

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

  • You know about as much of a motor boat as a pig knows of the hobble skirt.

    Boy Scouts in the Philippines

    G. Harvey Ralphson

  • The enemy was leading the general, who could just hobble, and Fitz, back to the camp.

    Pluck on the Long Trail

    Edwin L. Sabin

  • It must be hard work for him to hobble through the world on his wooden leg.

    Aunt Amy

    Francis Forrester

  • The excitement being over, it was with very great difficulty the crippled savage could hobble his way back to the camp.

    The Adventures of the Chevalier De La Salle and His Companions, in Their Explorations of the Prairies, Forests, Lakes, and Rivers, of the New World, and Their Interviews with the Savage Tribes, Two Hundred Years Ago

    John S. C. Abbott

  • British Dictionary definitions for hobble hobble verb

    1. (intr) to walk with a lame awkward movement
    2. (tr) to fetter the legs of (a horse) in order to restrict movement
    3. to progress unevenly or with difficulty
    4. (tr) to hamper or restrict (the actions or scope of a person, organization, etc)


    1. a strap, rope, etc, used to hobble a horse
    2. a limping gait
    3. British dialect a difficult or embarrassing situation
    4. a castrated ferret

    Also (for senses 2, 5): hopple Derived Formshobbler, nounWord Origin for hobble C14: probably from Low German; compare Flemish hoppelen, Middle Dutch hobbelen to stammer Word Origin and History for hobble v.

    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.

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