Definition of hustle in US English:



  • 1with object Force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction.

    ‘they hustled him into the back of a horse-drawn wagon’
    • ‘With barely an apology, the bemused travelers were hustled off the train at Wellingborough and shovelled over the bridge to catch the next train south.’
    • ‘Mum is hustling us along, clearing the area, searching for forgotten items.’
    • ‘She was unbending and ordered a couple of security guards to hustle me out.’
    • ‘They caught it early and hustled him right over to the hospital, and he expects to be released later on today.’
    • ‘We are hustled down a series of corridors to his office.’
    • ‘A group of men hustled her and reporters attempting to speak with her away from the stage.’
    • ‘Edward, with his guitar, was trying to hustle people out the door.’
    • ‘Panic-stricken, she hustled her family away from their house before reporting the ‘bomb scare’ to the shop where she bought the computer.’
    • ‘He hustled me toward the entryway that led downstairs, swung open the door, and shoved me through.’
    • ‘A few minutes later, Christy hustled us to the door to get into the waiting cars, which would take us to the show.’
    • ‘I hustled him out of the theater to sit on a bench for a few minutes.’
    • ‘Soon after they had stopped, the door roared aside and the ubiquitous soldiers were hustling the weary people off the train.’
    • ‘And briefly, before the orchestra builds to a crescendo and I am hustled from the awards podium.’
    • ‘They desperately want to hustle him out of the lake and into the warmth of their waiting ambulance.’
    • ‘When the doorbell rang, I bounced up, but Aunt Rachel hustled me back into the sitting room as she answered the door.’
    • ‘His son had made a decision and was hustling his father out of there as fast as possible.’
    • ‘I'm hustled back down through the mud tunnels and out of the compound.’
    • ‘These people were hustling me along towards their car, and I had to do something about it.’
    • ‘We were kept waiting for 30 minutes or so until armed guards and other aides suddenly rushed into the foyer and hustled us out the door into a courtyard.’
    • ‘He goes to have a shower, while she hustles Paul out of the apartment.’
    1. 1.1 Push roughly; jostle.
      ‘they were hissed and hustled as they went in’
      • ‘The mayhem will then being in earnest as the gang intimidate the natives and wander through the bar hustling the bar tenders and drinking pre prepared shots - neat of course!’
      jostle, push, push roughly, bump, knock, shove, nudge, elbow, shoulder
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    2. 1.2no object Hurry; bustle.
      ‘he had to retag second base and hustle back to first’
      • ‘I wasn't heckled, I wasn't jeered, but my wife and I did have to hustle out of there quickly so we could stop the babysitter's clock from bankrupting us.’
      • ‘The students are hustling and bustling about, Ms. Hunter frantically handing back the test papers.’
      • ‘A short, thin-faced young man with a sparse mustache hustled around from the back of the van.’
      • ‘The guy is hustling every second of every round which means his opponents will not have any time to rest.’
      • ‘And we hustle all the way back up stairs and go to bed.’
      • ‘I hustled and bustled about the entire day, working on fast forward mode.’
      • ‘I pick my moment and bolt from the brush, hustling across in a comically suspicious trot.’
      • ‘A short, white-haired little woman soon appeared at the door, hustling and bustling about.’
      • ‘Whispers were abounded and people were moving, bustling, hustling, everywhere.’
      • ‘Every crew was hustling and bustling to get their cars prepped and ready for the long day.’
      • ‘I was hustling past the nurse's station on my way out when I recognized an extremely short female patient there as my old pal.’
      • ‘He stood outside as a few cooks hustled and bustled around to finish the orders.’
      • ‘But with interest rates low and rents on the rise, it seems nearly everyone in town is hustling to buy a home.’
      • ‘They made a quick call to the police and hustled out of the apartment.’
      • ‘They hustled past me, and, led by my father and the doctor, went straight upstairs.’
      • ‘Boston players shook hands and exchanged hugs and high-fives after the final out, then hustled into the clubhouse where the celebration really got wild.’
      • ‘We hustled to pack up our tables and bags and, holding our tents aloft, started marching.’
      • ‘Two men in business suits came hustling along carrying stacks of blue papers, handing one to each couple.’
      • ‘The streets were filled with people, hustling and bustling about.’
      • ‘Coming back, retracing the path, it turned colder and we were really hustling to keep warm and get home.’
      manhandle, push, shove, thrust, frogmarch, bulldoze
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  • 2North American informal with object Obtain by forceful action or persuasion.

    ‘the brothers headed to New York to try and hustle a record deal’
    • ‘The widespread poverty of the area made blacks all the more susceptible to the ploys of those trying to hustle them out of their money for supposed burials.’
    • ‘His days are spent hustling jobs from farmers who exploit the indigent, any-manner-of-employment seeking migrant workers.’
    • ‘The city's residents hustle odd jobs and steal electricity through spliced-on cables that siphon off the juice for free.’
    • ‘There may be a mother wondering where her child is while this fellow pushes him around the streets and subways hustling drug money.’
    • ‘During my 40 years of pool playing, I have never been hustled out of a significant amount of money.’
    • ‘He doesn't know that the bar owner has paid off the cops, and the bartender is a henchman who hustled votes for the judge.’
    • ‘But hustling dollars is now a challenge faced by all museums, and patrons have always demanded a return on their investments.’
    • ‘We hustled some grants out of a Methodist church.’
    1. 2.1hustle someone into Coerce or pressure someone into doing or choosing something.
      ‘don't be hustled into anything’
      • ‘Then hustle them into saying something that will make the next morning's headlines.’
      coerce, force, compel, pressure, pressurize, badger, pester, hound, harass, nag, harry, urge, goad, prod, spur
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    2. 2.2 Sell aggressively.
      ‘he hustled his company's oil around the country’
      • ‘He had written a great novel which I encouraged him to keep hustling.’
      • ‘He ‘pounded the streets, hustling to stores and galleries’ in an attempt to sell his art.’
      • ‘You will need to really hustle, network, and make all the contacts you can.’
      • ‘Charlie is known for hustling hot dogs in operatic style at baseball games.’
    3. 2.3 Obtain by illicit action; swindle; cheat.
      ‘Linda hustled money from men she met’
  • 3North American informal no object Engage in prostitution.

    • ‘Joey is hustling on Melrose with the transvestites and rent-boys when a limo pulls to the curb.’
    • ‘In 1998, he tried to be more careful about protecting himself, but he spent the summer hustling for money to pay for his apartment and for school.’
    • ‘It's clear that if they're not placed into boarding schools pronto, the girls will be whoring and the boys will be hustling within the next couple of years.’
    • ‘Then he says he hustles on the street only for enough money to buy food before going home to late at night.’
    • ‘We all worried about him and hoped he'd someday be able to tell us what exactly it was, and we all had our theories - that he was living on the street, that he was hustling, etc.’


  • 1Busy movement and activity.

    ‘the hustle and bustle of the big cities’
    • ‘The hustle and bustle that one witnessed every working day was not there, for it was a holiday for most.’
    • ‘But there's a definite feeling of hustle and bustle.’
    • ‘Despite the crowded streets and lively nights, Hong Kong is not all hustle and bustle.’
    • ‘At the same time, another city halfway around the world well known for its hustle and bustle will soon change its noise pollution laws drastically.’
    • ‘The hustle and bustle of the urban streetscape intentionally contrasts with the serenity of a residents' garden courtyard designed to engender social interaction.’
    • ‘The journey resumes amid much hustle and bustle.’
    • ‘Despite the noticeable hustle and bustle, little trade is being done.’
    • ‘It's a 12-hour flight there from the UK and you may be a little overwhelmed by the noisy, colourful hustle and bustle that you'll encounter on the way from the airport to your hotel.’
    • ‘A picture of hustle and bustle and untold exertion.’
    • ‘But soon after they get a taste of the real hustle and bustle of the capital, a lot of them realize that the city is not everything they expected it to be.’
    • ‘The name of the restaurant refers to the fifteen employees who attempt to cope with the constant hustle and bustle.’
    • ‘For a start, even amid the incredible hustle and bustle the waiting staff are extremely friendly, and the food is far more than passable; at times it's verging on being excellent.’
    • ‘It's kind of refreshing as I can get away from Jakarta's hustle and bustle.’
    • ‘It was a fairly nice place, I didn't see anything wrong with it, apart from the quietness, I'm too used to all my city hustle and bustle I guess!’
    • ‘The town has just been depressed, whereas it would normally be full of hustle and bustle on a Friday.’
    • ‘From 10.30 am on Saturday, the usual hustle and bustle of weekend shoppers ground to a halt as people stopped to watch the procession.’
    • ‘Well, the food buffs can't miss the city's hustle and bustle.’
    • ‘For one reason or another, a racegoer's favourite equine performer can end up living a life far removed from the familiar hustle and bustle of the racecourse.’
    • ‘The usual hustle and bustle had been replaced by an eerie hush.’
    • ‘Both city centre streets and out-of-town shopping centres were full of shoppers over the weekend, but without the manic hustle and bustle often experienced so close to Christmas.’
    activity, bustle, hustle and bustle, hurly-burly, commotion, tumult, hubbub, brouhaha, busyness, action, liveliness, animation, movement, life, excitement, agitation, fuss, flurry, stir, whirl
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  • 2North American informal A fraud or swindle.

    • ‘In prison, while dealing with corrupt guards and prison riots, attending church services, visiting the library and working his prison job, Hart cultivated new partners and hustles.’
    • ‘These hustles were for big money, five grand and up.’
    • ‘I had to work my way up from scams to hustles to grifts to short-cons to swindles to long-cons to heists to inside jobs to stings to capers to scores.’
    • ‘What's worse, these scams give more ammunition to reparations opponents who brand reparations as nothing but a get-rich-quick hustle.’
    • ‘And they were going to do the hustle, whatever that was.’
    • ‘As a consequence, reparations come off as a hustle and scam that would flush their hard earned tax dollars down a black hole with nothing in return for them.’
    • ‘Most of the hustles are meant, naturally, to appear not to be hustles at all, but genuine appeals for emergency financial assistance.’
    • ‘Many of the hustles and scams in the film are taken directly from his own poolhall adventures.’
    • ‘Better yet, I could skip all the hustles and put on a real money-making outfit.’
    • ‘With legitimate job prospects hampered by a felony record, many ex-convicts return to old hustles to survive.’
    • ‘Everyone can see that companies using various dodges and hustles are dominating the airwaves attempting to scare up business for compensation claims.’
    fraud, swindle, fraudulent scheme, confidence trick, mare's nest
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  • hustle one's ass

    • vulgar slang Move or act quickly.

      ‘he gave her a fixed stare, hoping she'd get the point and hustle her ass out of his seat’
  • hustle one's butt

    • informal Move or act quickly.

      ‘hustle your butt back here’


Late 17th century (originally in the sense ‘shake, toss’): from Middle Dutch hutselen. hustle (sense 3 of the verb) dates from the early 20th century.