From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English hobblen, hobelen, akin to Middle Dutch hoblen, hobbelen (Modern Dutch hobbelen).


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɒbəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: hob‧ble
  • Rhymes: -ɒbəl


hobble (plural hobbles)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) One of the short straps tied between the legs of unfenced horses, allowing them to wander short distances but preventing them from running off.
  2. An unsteady, off-balance step.
  3. (archaic, informal) A difficult situation; a scrape.
    • 1845, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, The Cock and Anchor:
      "Saddle a horse—any horse—only let him be sure and fleet," cried Ashwoode, "and I'll pay you his price thrice over!"
      "Well, it's a bargain," replied the groom, promptly; "I don't like to see a gentleman caught in a hobble, if I can help him out of it. []
  4. (dialect, UK and Newfoundland) An odd job; a piece of casual work.



A horse hobbled for veterinary purposes.


hobble (third-person singular simple present hobbles, present participle hobbling, simple past and past participle hobbled)

  1. To fetter by tying the legs; to restrict (a horse) with hobbles.
    • 1865, Charles Dickens, Doctor Marigold:
      you hobble your old horse and turn him grazing
  2. To walk lame, or unevenly.
    • 1681, John Dryden, The Spanish Fryar: Or, the Double Discovery. [], London: [] Richard Tonson and Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC, (please specify the page number):
      The friar was hobbling the same way too.
  3. (figurative) To move roughly or irregularly.
  4. To perplex; to embarrass.



Derived terms[edit]