Definition of hobble in English:



  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Walk in an awkward way, typically because of pain from an injury.

    ‘he was hobbling around on crutches’
    • ‘If both fore-feet are affected, the animal hobbles around and often kneels to graze.’
    • ‘I began to hobble around and the pain was only bad when I moved my leg.’
    • ‘After the initial shock and the pain, I hobbled back to Grandma's feeling sorry for myself.’
    • ‘And the Olympic silver medallist in Sydney looked to be in considerable pain as he hobbled off the track.’
    • ‘At one point, the 44-year-old singer hobbled into court on crutches with his left foot wrapped in bandages because of swelling from what he described as a spider bite.’
    • ‘I was forced to stop training for shows and I began to hobble instead of walk.’
    • ‘I grabbed my crutches and hobbled over to his desk.’
    • ‘Using his father as a human crutch, he hobbled round the track in agony, tears streaming down his face.’
    • ‘He is also recovering from an operation, hobbling around on crutches with enormous bandages on both feet.’
    • ‘She picked up a crutch and began hobbling up to her room.’
    • ‘She turned right and continued to walk, Jon hobbling next to her.’
    • ‘He hobbled towards me on crutches.’
    • ‘Up until that point Mitchell, who was last seen hobbling about on crutches with a hamstring problem, had been one of the game's better performers.’
    • ‘I sighed and then picked up my crutches, hobbled to the door, and down the hall of the apartment to the living room.’
    • ‘She hobbled in her awkward leg brace as she came to her next table.’
    • ‘With that I grabbed my crutch stiffly and hobbled out the door.’
    • ‘Andrew watched him hobble awkwardly down the hall, then turned and started the other direction.’
    • ‘Defeated, humiliated and hobbling on crutches outside Atlanta's Olympic stadium in 1996, she concluded that if athletics could be so cruel she didn't need it.’
    • ‘Jack sighed and walked or rather hobbled with us to the front door of his home.’
    • ‘He shook his head again and got up, hobbling away on his crutch.’
    limp, walk with a limp, walk with difficulty, move unsteadily, walk unevenly, walk lamely, walk haltingly
    View synonyms
  • 2with object Tie or strap together (the legs of a horse or other animal) to prevent it from straying.

    • ‘I looked as Madam was heading outside to tell Stephen not to worry about hobbling the horses.’
    • ‘By the time I hobbled the horses and returned to the fire Elza had woke and found breakfast.’
    • ‘Camels and goats were either hobbled or tethered at random.’
    • ‘So Wesley unloaded his horse, hobbled the poor, over-burdened beast and gave it a fond pat and wipe down.’
    • ‘With a camelteer in view there is nothing to worry about, but I would not like to be left alone with a camel, let alone have to hobble a herd of bull camels at night.’
    • ‘Lash ropes and diamond hitches are untied, the horses unpacked and then hobbled or tethered in the meadow below camp.’
    • ‘We had just picked a campsite for the evening, pitched the tent, and hobbled the horses.’
    • ‘I unsaddled and hobbled the horses while Elza unloaded the packs and lit a fire.’
    • ‘He hobbled his horse and turned away to open the front of his del.’
    • ‘Isabeau, Louis, and Joseph dismounted and walked over to Nicolas as the other men unloaded and hobbled the horses.’
    • ‘We hobbled the horses, and they browsed along the grassy bank, drinking freely from the lake water.’
    • ‘The drover got to work unhitching the oxen, and the horsemen unsaddled their horses and led them to the trees and hobbled them.’
    • ‘None of them spoke as they followed suit, mutely unloading the weary, nervous shen of cargo and tack, then hobbling them and setting them free to graze.’
    • ‘‘That's reassuring,’ she responded, hobbling the mare with leather straps and removing her bridle so that she could graze.’
    • ‘At last a slot had opened up and I hopped aboard to ride in freight with caged roosters and hobbled goats.’
    • ‘He untacked and unloaded the horses, then hobbled them and set them loose to graze.’
    1. 2.1 Cause (a person or animal) to limp.
      ‘Johnson was still hobbled slightly by an ankle injury’
      • ‘I am careful, though, to loosen my hamstrings since an injury last year that hobbled me for a few months.’
      • ‘He is their biggest playmaker, but he's hobbled by a sprained ankle.’
      • ‘But a knee injury hobbled him for a good chunk of the season.’
      • ‘Jeff Hornacek still is an outstanding shooter who also excels at many other aspects of the game, but he's hobbled by a sore knee.’
      • ‘If Ilgauskas, who has been hobbled by a serious foot injury, is able to return in the fall, this team is capable of winning 50 games.’
      • ‘A sprained ankle will hobble him for another few weeks, and be doesn't have the balance or footwork that he used to.’
      • ‘But hobbled by multiple sclerosis, he retired from journalism early - in 1991.’
      • ‘You can't be fit and healthy if you are walking around on crutches or hobbled with low back pain.’
      • ‘The other two had some injuries which appeared to be relatively minor, but enough to hobble them just a little bit.’
      • ‘Michael missed the entire preseason with a shaky knee and now that same knee has hobbled him onto the injured list.’
      • ‘He was in tears in the dugout, his right foot swollen after being hobbled by another player.’
      • ‘However, Parker has been hobbled of late by a bruised leg suffered in the Kings series, and it is unclear if he will be at 100 percent.’
      • ‘The injury has hobbled him in the past and kept him out of parts of more games, even as he has played through it.’
      • ‘Stallworth was hobbled for several games as a rookie with a strained hamstring, and he has missed three games this season because of a variety of maladies.’
      • ‘But the calf injury that hobbled him for much of last season is becoming a problem again.’
      • ‘The price of snapping that 11-game losing streak was Tom, who reinjured the groin that hobbled him earlier this season.’
      • ‘She was hobbled by shin-splints and, after a year on the team, she gave up hoops to focus her extracurricular energies completely on track.’
      • ‘Williams was also hobbled by bone spurs, which he'd had since high school.’
      • ‘My father would get on his tennis court every day and hit balls come rain or shine, even when he was practically hobbled because his feet were so swollen.’
      • ‘Lawton's big right toe, which hobbled him last season, was sore at the opening of camp, but offseason exams showed no significant problems.’
    2. 2.2 Restrict the activity or development of.
      ‘the economy was hobbled by rising oil prices’
      • ‘Many corporate investigations are hobbled before they even start because security takes an overly aggressive posture within the organization.’
      • ‘We run a significant risk of hobbling the effectiveness of an open market and entrepreneurial environment that has been unparalleled in history.’
      • ‘It would hobble the product and hobble the marketing at the same time.’
      • ‘She is hobbled by inexperience and a lowly position, but Wilmot takes her under his patronage and tutelage.’
      • ‘Ten years ago, China cars were hobbled by shoddy quality, poor technology and little research and development in motor vehicles.’
      • ‘With E Andre Wadsworth still hobbled by knee problems and E Simeon Rice gone through free agency, the Cardinals are desperate.’
      • ‘What hobbles many teams is the lack of professional management.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the constant transferring of large numbers of bulky audio and video files can swamp college networks, hobbling other users.’
      • ‘With the banking sector in a funk, total outstanding loans have been declining for the past six years, hobbling the ability of enterprises to raise capital for expansion.’
      • ‘By sticking a bit too closely to the kind of musical approach he knows best, he hobbles this attempt at self-definition.’
      • ‘They follow limits placed on lending by state banks - in other words, the banking sector in general, already hobbled by massive bad debts to underperforming state firms.’
      • ‘But Dillon's analysis is hobbled by a few unresolved issues.’
      • ‘There is a lot of concern that the Higher Education Bill could hobble students with up to £30,000 debt.’
      • ‘Microsoft hobbles three opponents in one deal.’
      • ‘The internet has become, to some, the ultimate symbol of modernity to the point that participants were hobbled without convenient access to routine information like maps and telephone numbers.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, we are still hobbled my some shortsighted policies which stifle growth in the domestic segment.’
      • ‘To the ordinary punter, Google News will also be much more useful than Moreover, the best known headline aggregator, which deliberately hobbles search to encourage sign-ups and pay-ups.’
      • ‘Despite playing more regular season games than he has since 2001, Shaquille O'Neal was hobbled through much of the playoffs.’
      • ‘That's in contrast to the nuclear energy and genetically modified organism industries, which are hobbled by bad public relations, she adds.’
      • ‘Many groups have argued that the mandate will hobble people's ability to make fair use of their media.’
      • ‘Security concerns will hobble investing in many parts of the world.’
      • ‘That windfall gave Hutchison the cash it needed to get into 3G - and left it free of the debts that hobble other European carriers.’
      • ‘Today, we see that government, in practice, controls very little of the communications industry, despite every attempt to hobble private enterprise.’
      • ‘John Young, the colourful chairman of the famous Wandsworth brewery Young's & Co, has been railing against Government red tape that he says hobbles businesses like his.’


  • 1in singular An awkward way of walking, typically due to pain from an injury.

    ‘he finished the match almost reduced to a hobble’
    • ‘The hobble became a rapid shuffle and then a quite respectable stroll, and the discomfort faded away.’
    • ‘He looked at me with a cheeky grin on his face and actually imitated my hobble all the way back to the entrance door.’
    • ‘After a painful hobble to the bench, I sat and watched out the clock.’
    • ‘A little water, a quick hobble to the touchline and seconds later he was sprinting round like a 10-year-old.’
    • ‘Her foot swelled during the night, making it hard for her to walk, so it was more of a hobble.’
    • ‘I had a sort of odd hobble going on, I had crutches but it was still really painful.’
    • ‘Elanor followed her slowly, she didn't entirely trust the shoes to hold her weight, and so she was forced to walk with an awkward sort of hobble.’
    • ‘He, like Zak, had had the cast taken off his left leg only the day before and now had a hobble which was somewhat comical when both walked next to each other.’
    • ‘He took a step, more like a hobble with his crutches, closer.’
    • ‘Jim on the other hand; an old man with a greasy beard and a distinct hobble, little self esteem and no home to go to, had no concern for politics.’
    • ‘He walks with a hobble and his wrists are limp, but Yearwood never let his disability stop him from pursuing his dream of being a marathon runner.’
    • ‘I could tell by her hobble that she had just put her heels on.’
    lameness, hobble, uneven gait, shuffle
    View synonyms
  • 2A rope or strap used for hobbling a horse or other animal.

    • ‘They had either broken their hobbles or moved an unusually long distance away during the night.’
    • ‘Soon thereafter ride participants saw her with the short lead rope and hobbles in place, learning a lesson in discipline!’
    • ‘Trist leaped to the ground and removed the hobbles, picked up his rifle and the canteens, and grabbed the reins of the mare.’
    • ‘Then he took the hobbles off his black horse, which had been grazing nearby throughout the night, and slung the queen onto the mare's back over his saddlebags.’
    • ‘I ran up the cliff face and pulled off the hobbles, before pulling myself unto the mare's back.’


Middle English: probably of Dutch or Low German origin and related to Dutch hobbelen ‘rock from side to side’. hobble (sense 2 of the verb) is a variant of hopple.