After Thomas Hobson (1544-1631) of Cambridge, England, who rented horses and gave his customers the choice of the horse nearest the stable door or no horse at all.
- The choice of taking either the primary option or nothing.
1847, James Fenimore Cooper, chapter 23, in The Crater:
- When Hobson's choice is placed before one, deliberation is of no great use.
1887, George Bernard Shaw, chapter 5, in An Unsocial Socialist:
- In other words, they might go to the devil and starve—Hobson's choice!—for all the other factories were owned by men who offered no better terms.