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

  • 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

  • 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

  • ` ` 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    The Escapist : Latest News


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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