Definitions

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

  • n. Sports A light portable barrier over which competitors must leap in certain races.
  • n. Sports A race in which a series of such barriers must be jumped without the competitors' breaking their stride.
  • n. Sports A leaping step made off one foot as means of maximizing spring at the end of an approach, as to a dive.
  • n. An obstacle or difficulty to be overcome: the last hurdle before graduation.
  • n. Chiefly British A portable framework made of intertwined branches or wattle and used for temporary fencing.
  • n. Chiefly British A frame or sledge on which condemned persons were dragged to execution.
  • transitive v. To leap over (a barrier) in or as if in a race.
  • transitive v. To overcome or deal with successfully; surmount: hurdle a problem.
  • intransitive v. To leap over a barrier or other obstacle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An artificial barrier, variously constructed, over which men or horses jump in a race.
  • n. A perceived obstacle.
  • n. A movable frame of wattled twigs, osiers, or withes and stakes, or sometimes of iron, used for enclosing land, for folding sheep and cattle, for gates, etc.; also, in fortification, used as revetments, and for other purposes.
  • n. A sled or crate on which criminals were formerly drawn to the place of execution.
  • v. To jump over something while running.
  • v. To compete in the track and field events of hurdles (e.g. high hurdles).
  • v. To overcome an obstacle.
  • v. To hedge, cover, make, or enclose with hurdles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A movable frame of wattled twigs, osiers, or withes and stakes, or sometimes of iron, used for inclosing land, for folding sheep and cattle, for gates, etc.; also, in fortification, used as revetments, and for other purposes.
  • n. In England, a sled or crate on which criminals were formerly drawn to the place of execution.
  • n. An artificial barrier, variously constructed, over which men or horses leap in a race.
  • transitive v. To hedge, cover, make, or inclose with hurdles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A movable frame made of interlaced twigs or sticks, or of bars, rods, or narrow boards, crossing each other.
  • n. Specifically— A sledge or frame on which criminals were formerly drawn to the place of execution.
  • n. In fortification, a collection of twigs or sticks interwoven closely and sustained by long stakes, made usually of a rectangular shape, 5 or 6 feet by 3½ feet, and serving to render works firm or to cover traverses and lodgments for the defense of workmen against fireworks or stones.
  • n. In agriculture: A frame usually made of wood, but sometimes of iron, for the purpose of forming temporary fences. When a fence is to be formed of hurdles, they are put down end to end, and fastened to the ground and to one another.
  • n. A space inclosed by hurdles: a fold.
  • n. A kind of permanent mattress of willow or other branches, built on a river-bank and fastened down with short sticks, to prevent the wearing away of the bank by the current of the stream.
  • n. In racing, a bar or frame placed across a race-course at a certain height, in semblance of a fence, to be cleared by the contesting men or horses.
  • n. In hat-making, a grid or frame of wood or wire, in which a mass of felting-hair is placed to be bowed.
  • To make, hedge, cover, or close with hurdles.
  • To jump over a hurdle, as in a hurdle-race; hence, to jump over anything as if it were a hurdle.

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

  • n. a light movable barrier that competitors must leap over in certain races
  • n. an obstacle that you are expected to overcome
  • n. the act of jumping over an obstacle
  • v. jump a hurdle

Etymologies

Middle English hurdel, portable panel for temporary fences, from Old English hyrdel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English hyrdel. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "Specifically— A sledge or frame on which criminals were formerly drawn to the place of execution."
    --CD&C

    March 14, 2013

  • I knew of hurdles in the sense of something-one-jumps-over, but didn't know it was a kind of fence actually used for livestock.

    "I was learning how to make leather rope and tan leather and weave hurdles, and a dozen other useful things."
    The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones, p 26

    October 31, 2010

  • Definition 5: "The hut was constructed of three sheep hurdles bound together with rope, and with an assortment of broken planks nailed together to form a kind of roof which glistened green with slime." Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

    September 22, 2009