Definition of hamstring in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhamstrɪŋ/


1Any of five tendons at the back of a person’s knee: he pulled a hamstring
More example sentences
  • The lift is actually performed by the leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus) on the way up.
  • You must squat to build a symmetrical sexy lower body with a balance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings and gluteus maximus.
  • Your gluteus maximus and hamstrings are powerful hip extensors that are activated whenever you stand, sit or step up.
1.1The great tendon at the back of a quadruped’s hock.
Example sentences
  • Do not run down the rear of the leg when nearing the hock as it is easy to cut the hamstring and cause lameness.
  • They can go to the neck and slice the jugular vein and carotid artery; they can cut the hamstring above the hock; they can cut the band on top of the neck.

verb (past and past participle hamstrung)

[with object]
1Cripple (a person or animal) by cutting their hamstrings.
Example sentences
  • He hammered the remnants of his blade into the chest of the one who shattered it, and jumped to avoid a swipe that would have hamstrung him.
  • Squall pushed aside the chair that Mathers was trying to hamstring him with.
1.1Severely restrict the efficiency or effectiveness of: we were hamstrung by a total lack of knowledge
More example sentences
  • His ability to bring reform to Brazil will be hamstrung by budget restrictions
  • Its construction has been hamstrung by numerous delays and corruption scandals.
  • But our currency is hamstrung by severe structural distortions in both the economic and financial spheres.
restrain, check, curtail
informal stymie
North American informal bork
literary trammel
rare cumber


16th century: from ham1 + string.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ham|string

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