Definitions

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

  • n. Any of the tendons at the rear hollow of the human knee.
  • n. The hamstring muscle.
  • n. The large tendon in the back of the hock of a quadruped.
  • transitive v. To cut the hamstring of (an animal or a person) and thereby cripple.
  • transitive v. To destroy or hinder the efficiency of; frustrate: "These worthwhile books are often hamstrung by unimaginative formats and inaccurate art" ( Don Lessem).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of the great tendons situated in each side of the ham, or space back of the knee, and connected with the muscles of the back of the thigh.
  • n. The biceps femoris muscle.
  • v. To lame or disable by cutting the tendons of the ham or knee; to hough; hence, to cripple; to incapacitate; to disable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the great tendons situated in each side of the ham, or space back of the knee, and connected with the muscles of the back of the thigh.
  • transitive v. To lame or disable by cutting the tendons of the ham or knee; to hough; hence, to cripple; to incapacitate; to disable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In human anatomy, the tendon of a muscle which bounds the ham, or space behind the knee on either side above the middle of the popliteal space.
  • n. In ordinary language, the great tendon or sinew at the back of the so-called knee or hock of the hind leg of a quadruped.
  • To cut the hamstrings of, and thus lame or disable.
  • In whaling, to cut the muscle or tendons of the small of the whale, so as to render the flukes useless and make the animal helpless. It is done with the fluke-spade when a boat is hauled up alongside a running whale.

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

  • v. cripple by cutting the hamstring
  • n. one of the tendons at the back of the knee
  • v. make ineffective or powerless

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

Comments

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  • So have they hamstrung the valour of the Subject by seeking to effeminate us all at home.
    —Milton, 1641, Reform.

    The earliest known use of the verb, and it neatly illustrates the anomalous past tense and past participle. One would expect 'hamstringed', since it's formed from the noun, and doesn't contain the strong verb 'string'. (Actually that verb doesn't go back to Old English, and is itself a creation of only a century or so before Milton.)

    July 29, 2008