Hobson's choice(redirected from Hobson)
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the choice between taking what is offered and getting nothing at all. (From the name of a stable owner in the seventeenth century who always hired out the horse nearest the door.) We didn't really want that particular hotel, but it was a case of Hobson's choice. We booked very late and there was nothing else left. If you want a yellow car, it's Hobson's choice. The garage has only one.
An apparently free choice that actually offers no alternative. For example, My dad said if I wanted the car I could have it tonight or not at all-that's Hobson's choice . This expression alludes to Thomas Hobson of Cambridge, England, who rented horses and allowed each customer to take only the horse nearest the stable door. [Mid-1600s]
Hobson's choicemainly BRITISH
You can call a decision Hobson's choice when it forces you to choose something because in reality there is no other choice available. He was faced with a Hobson's choice between obedience and ruin, so he gave in to their demands. Only the satellite companies were offering enough money to screen the games, so it was Hobson's choice really. Note: This expression may refer to a man called Thomas Hobson, who earned money by hiring out horses at the end of the 16th century. He had a particular system for using each horse in turn, so a customer was given no choice, even if there were many horses available.
No choice at all, take it or leave it. Thomas Hobson ran a livery stable in Cambridge, England, in the 16th century. He had a simple policy about renting out his horses: you took what he gave you or you went horseless (some accounts say he rented whichever animal was in the stall nearest the door). Hobson's spirit lives on in the joke about a passenger aboard El Al Airlines who asked the flight attendant what the choice of dinner was. She replied with a smile, “The choice is yes or no.”