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From Old English hyrdel ‎(frame of intertwined twigs used as a temporary barrier), diminutive of hyrd ‎(door), from Proto-Germanic *hurdiz, from Pre-Germanic *kr̥h₂tis, from Proto-Indo-European *kreh₂-.



hurdle ‎(plural hurdles)

  1. An artificial barrier, variously constructed, over which athletes or horses jump in a race.
  2. A perceived obstacle.
  3. A movable frame of wattled twigs, osiers, or withes and stakes, or sometimes of iron, used for enclosing land, for folding sheep and cattle, for gates, etc.; also, in fortification, used as revetments, and for other purposes.
    • 1882, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 4, page 414.
      The practice of folding sheep was general, and the purchase of hurdles was a regular charge in the shepherd's account.
  4. (Britain, obsolete) A sled or crate on which criminals were formerly drawn to the place of execution.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
  5. (T-flapping) Misspelling of hurtle.




hurdle ‎(third-person singular simple present hurdles, present participle hurdling, simple past and past participle hurdled)

  1. To jump over something while running.
    He hurdled the bench in his rush to get away.
  2. To compete in the track and field events of hurdles (e.g. high hurdles).
  3. To overcome an obstacle.
  4. To hedge, cover, make, or enclose with hurdles.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)
  5. (T-flapping) Misspelling of hurtle.