a. A light portable barrier over which competitors must leap in certain races.
b. hurdles A race in which a series of such barriers must be jumped without the competitors' breaking their stride.
c. A leaping step made off one foot as means of maximizing spring at the end of an approach, as to a dive.
2. An obstacle or difficulty to be overcome: the last hurdle before graduation.
3. Chiefly British A portable framework made of intertwined branches or wattle and used for temporary fencing.
4. Chiefly British A frame or sledge on which condemned persons were dragged to execution.
v. hur·dled, hur·dling, hur·dles
1. To leap over (a barrier) in or as if in a race.
2. To overcome or deal with successfully; surmount: hurdle a problem.
To leap over a barrier or other obstacle.
[Middle English hurdel, portable panel for temporary fences, from Old English hyrdel.]
(click for a larger image)hurdles
left to right: Konstadinos Douvalidis of Greece, David Payne of the United States, and Mikel Thomas of Trinidad and Tobago at the 2008 Olympic Games
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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