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.
a situation in which it seems that you can choose between different things or actions, but there is really only one thing that you can take or do
Usage notes: Thomas Hobson was a man who kept horses and did not give people a choice about which horse they could have.It's Hobson's choice, because if I don't agree to do what they want, I'll lose my job.
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]
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.”