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From Dutch husselen or by metathesis from Dutch hutselen (to shake up), a frequentative of hutsen (to stir, to move something (back and forth)).


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌsəl


hustle (third-person singular simple present hustles, present participle hustling, simple past and past participle hustled)

  1. (intransitive) To rush or hurry.
    I'll have to hustle to get there on time.
    • 1922, Sinclair Lewis, chapter 12, in Babbitt:
      Men in dairy lunches were hustling to gulp down the food which cooks had hustled to fry
  2. (transitive) To con or deceive; especially financially.
    The guy tried to hustle me into buying into a bogus real estate deal.
  3. (transitive) To bundle; to stow something quickly.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      There was a person called Nana who ruled the nursery. Sometimes she took no notice of the playthings lying about, and sometimes, for no reason whatever, she went swooping about like a great wind and hustled them away in cupboards.
  4. To dance the hustle, a disco dance.
  5. To play deliberately badly at a game or sport in an attempt to encourage players to challenge.
  6. To sell sex; to work as a pimp.
  7. To be a prostitute, to exchange use of one's body for sexual purposes for money.
  8. (informal) To work.
  9. (informal) To put a lot of effort into one's work.
  10. To push someone roughly, to crowd, to jostle.[1]
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, OCLC 5661828:
      There is an hour or two, after the passengers have embarked, which is disquieting and fussy. [] Passengers wander restlessly about or hurry, with futile energy, from place to place. Pushing men hustle each other at the windows of the purser's office, under pretence of expecting letters or despatching telegrams.




hustle (countable and uncountable, plural hustles)

  1. A state of busy activity.
  2. A propensity to work hard and get things done; ability to hustle.
    • 1934, Agatha Christie, chapter 3, in Murder on the Orient Express, London: HarperCollins, published 2017, page 26:
      'It's just natural for the folks here to be indolent,' she said. 'They just haven't got any hustle in them.'
  3. A type of disco dance, commonly danced to the Van McCoy song The Hustle.
  4. (prison slang) An activity, such as prostitution or reselling stolen items, that a prisoner uses to earn money in prison.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner (prepared by), The Compact Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (Claredon Press, Oxford 1991 [1989], →ISBN), page 799