Hobson's choice

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Named 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.


Hobson’s choice (plural Hobson's choices)

  1. 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.