from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To walk or move along haltingly or with difficulty; limp.
  • intransitive verb To put a device around the legs of (a horse, for example) so as to hamper but not prevent movement.
  • intransitive verb To cause to limp.
  • intransitive verb To hamper the action or progress of; impede.
  • noun A hobbling walk or gait.
  • noun A device, such as a rope or strap, used to hobble an animal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To go with a hop or hitch; walk with a hitch; go on crutches; go lamely; limp.
  • To dance.
  • To move roughly or irregularly, as verse.
  • To tie the legs of together so as to impede or prevent free motion; clog; hopple.
  • To perplex; embarrass.
  • noun An unequal, halting gait; a limp; an awkward step.
  • noun Difficulty; perplexity; scrape.
  • noun Anything used to hamper the feet of an animal, especially a rope tied to the fore legs of a horse to insure its being caught when wanted; a clog; a fetter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To fetter by tying the legs; to hopple; to clog.
  • transitive verb To perplex; to embarrass.
  • intransitive verb To walk lame, bearing chiefly on one leg; to walk with a hitch or hop, or with crutches.
  • intransitive verb To move roughly or irregularly; -- said of style in writing.
  • noun An unequal gait; a limp; a halt.
  • noun Same as Hopple.
  • noun Difficulty; perplexity; embarrassment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Short straps tied between the legs of unfenced horses, allowing them to wander short distances but preventing them from running off.
  • noun An unsteady, off-balance step.
  • verb To restrict a horse with hobbles.
  • verb To walk unevenly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the uneven manner of walking that results from an injured leg
  • noun a shackle for the ankles or feet
  • verb strap the foreleg and hind leg together on each side (of a horse) in order to keep the legs on the same side moving in unison
  • verb walk impeded by some physical limitation or injury
  • verb hamper the action or progress of


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English hobblen, of Low German origin; akin to Middle Dutch hobbelen, to roll.]


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  • Numps has sent for me to see poor little Greek and Latin hobble to the altar, but, 'tis a million to one, if our noble baronet does not whisk you there before her.

    Camilla: or, A Picture of Youth 1796

  • Ironically (or not), with the rising militancy of suffragists, skirts began to narrow until they became the barreled, banded style known as the hobble skirt.

    Introduction: Edwardian Women’s Fashions | Edwardian Promenade 2008

  • Let not my length and my breadth nor yet my bulk delude thee, with respect to the son of Adam; for he, of the excess of his guile and his cunning, fashions for me a thing called a hobble and hobbles my four legs with ropes of palm-fibres, bound with felt, and makes me fast by the head to a high picket, so that I remain standing and can neither sit nor lie down, being tied up.

    The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume III Anonymous 1879

  • ` ` Normally, when that type of thing happens, it's painful at first, you kind of hobble off and then it goes away, '' Redick said. - Scores 2005

  • So when the prosecutor called him to the witness stand, it took what seemed like forever for him to kind of hobble up to the stand.

    CNN Transcript Feb 8, 2007 2007

  • At several points in the decision, the judge notes that Williams and MacDonald considered Henley's work to have been a "hobble", local slang for a small, inconsequential job.

    Archive 2006-08-01 Ed Hollett 2006

  • But he watched the small figure, that did after all "hobble" a little all the way down the room as the summoned housekeeper led the way.

    Suzanna Stirs the Fire Emily Calvin Blake

  • In excursions of this kind it is customary to "hobble" the horses; that is, to tie their fore-legs together, so that they cannot run either fast or far, but are free enough to amble about with a clumsy sort of hop in search of food.

    The Dog Crusoe and his Master 1859

  • The judges all hated Mila's dress, which was so tight and stiff that her model had to "hobble" down the runway.

    Starpulse Entertainment News 2010

  • "hobble" the PC multiplayer version of MW2 by not providing for dedicated servers.

    The Escapist : Latest News 2009


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  • hobble synonym of encumber

    August 20, 2014

  • "Well as a development, this proposal has been incredibly destructive. Not only has it, you know, created division within the community, it’s created a drain on time, energy and money resources. But yes, it’s been an absolute hobble on any creative ideas and investment in other solutions to visitation on the mountain."

    - Vica Bayley, 'Cable Car Interview – Vica Bayley & Nala Mansell',

    July 20, 2021