Definition of Hobson's choice in English:

Hobson's choice

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


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.

More definitions of Hobson's choice

Definition of Hobson's choice in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day grammarian
Pronunciation: grəˈmɛːrɪən
a person who studies and writes about grammar