Share this entry

Hobson's choice Line breaks: Hob¦son's choice
Pronunciation: /ˈhɒbs(ə)nz/

Definition of Hobson's choice in English:


A choice of taking what is available or nothing at all: the regional council must decide whether a private toll bridge is better than no bridge at all—it’s a Hobson’s choice
More example sentences
  • Hence, a Hobson's choice was not a choice at all.
  • But Hobson's choice is no choice.
  • The choices they made were mostly Hobson's choices.


Mid 17th century: named after Thomas Hobson (1554–1631), a Cambridge carrier who hired out horses, giving the customer the ‘choice’ of the one nearest the door or none at all.

Definition of Hobson's choice in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources