Hobson's choice

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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.

Noun[edit]

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.