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Inherited from Middle English hurlen, of onomatopoeic origin; compare hurry, hurtle.


  • (US) IPA(key): /hɝl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)l


hurl (third-person singular simple present hurls, present participle hurling, simple past and past participle hurled)

  1. (transitive) To throw (something) with force.
    • a. 1722, Matthew Prior, “Fragment”, in H. Bunker Wright, Monroe K. Spears, editors, The Literary Works of Matthew Prior, Second edition, volume I, Oxford: Clarendon Press, published 1971, pages 720–721:
      Thou shalt have Preists immers’t in lust and gluttony
      And bishops three times married, thy cathedrals
      The Seats where Prayer and hospitality
      Should dwel, shall be the taverns
      Where Drunken bowles incessantly goe round
      In leud debauch and midnight dice are hurld,
      The beds wherein the wearied Pilgrim us’d
      To ease his crippled Limbs, he now shall find
      Possess’t with Women, nurses, she attandants,
      And a Dishonest brood of ugly children.
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot, Chapter IV:
      I was standing on the edge of the conning-tower, when a heavy palm suddenly struck me between the shoulders and hurled me forward into space. The drop to the triangular deck forward of the conning-tower might easily have broken a leg for me, or I might have slipped off onto the deck and rolled overboard; but fate was upon my side, as I was only slightly bruised.
    • 2011 September 2, “Wales 2-1 Montenegro”, in BBC[1]:
      The Tottenham wing was causing havoc down the right and when he broke past the bemused Sasa Balic once again, Bellamy was millimetres from connecting with his cross as the Liverpool striker hurled himself at the ball.
  2. (transitive) To utter (harsh or derogatory speech), especially at its target.
    The gangs hurled abuse at each other.
    • 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, Chapter 5:
      Tarzan on his part never lost an opportunity to show that he fully reciprocated his foster father's sentiments, and whenever he could safely annoy him or make faces at him or hurl insults upon him from the safety of his mother's arms, or the slender branches of the higher trees, he did so.
    • 1984, New International Version of the Bible, Mark 15:29-30:
      Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!"
    • 2016, Daniel Gray, Saturday, 3pm: 50 Eternal Delights of Modern Football:
      It is Boxing Day in a football ground, and all we can do is sprawl over the plastic, hurling instructions and vague encouragement.
  3. (intransitive) To participate in the sport of hurling.
    • 2011 August 3, Donnchadh Boyle, “Egan targets Rebel success to rescue poor season”, in Irish Independent[2]:
      Their cause was helped after the senior footballers were unexpectedly dumped out of the running for the Sam Maguire, meaning Aidan Walsh is available to hurl full-time with the young Rebels -- Walsh scored 1-1 in the semi-final victory over reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary.
  4. (intransitive, slang) To vomit.
    Pass me the bucket; I've got to hurl.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To twist or turn.
    • 1645, Thomas Fuller, Good Thoughts in Bad Times:
      On Nicias a philosopher having his shoes stolen from him, may they, said he, fit his feet that took them away. A wish at the first view very harmless, but there was that in it which poisoned his charity into a malicious revenge. For he himself had hurled or crooked feet, so that in effect he wished the thief to be lame.
  6. (obsolete) To move rapidly with a noise; to whirl.
  7. (Scotland, transitive, obsolete) To convey in a wheeled vehicle.

Derived terms[edit]



hurl (countable and uncountable, plural hurls)

  1. (countable) A throw, especially a violent throw; a fling.
    He managed a hurl of 50.3 metres.
    • 1695, William Congreve, “To the King, on the Taking of Namure. Irregular Ode.”, in Poems Upon Several Occasions, Glasgow, published 1752, page 16:
      The Gods, with horror and amaze, look’d down,
      Beholding rocks from their firm basis rent;
      Mountain on mountain thrown,
      With threatening hurl, that shook th’ aethereal [var.: aerial] firmament!
    • Benjamin W. Evans, Tales From The Kerb (page 25)
      I laid down this law with all the girls and expected to receive a hurl of abuse back.
  2. (slang) The act of vomiting.
    Open the window! I've gotta take a hurl.
  3. (slang, uncountable) Vomit.
    • 1993, Wayne's World 2 (film)
      WAYNE: What I'd really like to do is something extraordinary. Something big. [] But I'll probably end up working at Great America, mopping up hurl and lung butter.
  4. (hurling, countable) The act of hitting the sliotar with the hurley.
  5. (Ulster, Scotland, slang, countable) A conveyance in a wheeled vehicle; a ride in a car, etc.
    • 2022, Liam McIlvanney, The Heretic, page 413:
      Maybe you can give me a hurl in the Bentley one day, when you're in the vicinity.
  6. (obsolete) Tumult; riot; hurly-burly.
  7. (obsolete, countable) A table on which fibre is stirred and mixed by beating with a bow spring.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of hurlen