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From Middle English hurtlen, hurtelen, equivalent to hurt +‎ -le.



hurtle (third-person singular simple present hurtles, present participle hurtling, simple past and past participle hurtled)

  1. (intransitive) To move rapidly, violently, or without control.
    The car hurtled down the hill at 90 miles per hour.
    Pieces of broken glass hurtled through the air.
  2. (intransitive, archaic) To meet with violence or shock; to clash; to jostle.
  3. (intransitive, archaic) To make a threatening sound, like the clash of arms; to make a sound as of confused clashing or confusion; to resound.
  4. (transitive) To hurl or fling; to throw hard or violently.
    He hurtled the wad of paper angrily at the trash can and missed by a mile.
  5. (intransitive, archaic) To push; to jostle; to hurl.



hurtle (plural hurtles)

  1. A fast movement in literal or figurative sense.
    • 1975, John Wakeman, Literary Criticism
      But the war woke me up, I began to move left, and recent events have accelerated that move until it is now a hurtle.
    • 2005, June 20, The Guardian
      Jamba has removed from Marlowe's Doctor Faustus all but the barest of essentials - even half its title, leaving us with an 80-minute hurtle through Faustus's four and twenty borrowed years on earth.
  2. A clattering sound.
    • 1913, Eden Phillpotts, Widecombe Fair, page 26
      There came a hurtle of wings, a flash of bright feathers, and a great pigeon with slate-grey plumage and a neck bright as an opal, lit on a swaying finial.


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of hurtelen