Hobson's choice

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Hobson's choice

1. Something that seems to be a choice but isn't. The phrase refers to British stable owner Thomas Hobson, who was known to act as though he only had one horse to rent to each patron, even when his stable was full. A: "This rental car is terrible." B: "Well, did you want to walk all the way from the airport to the hotel? It was Hobson's choice."
2. slang The voice. The phrase comes from rhyming slang in which "Hobson's choice" rhymes with "voice." In this usage, "choice" is usually capitalized. Primarily heard in UK. Her Hobson's Choice was as sweet as an angel's.
See also: choice
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

Hobson's choice

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.
See also: choice
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Hobson's choice

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]
See also: choice
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Hobson's choice

mainly 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.
See also: choice
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

Hobson's choice

no choice at all.
Thomas Hobson , to whom this expression refers, was a carrier at Cambridge in the early 17th century, who would not allow his clients their own choice of horse from his stables as he insisted on hiring them out in strict rotation. They were offered the ‘choice’ of the horse nearest the door or none at all. Hobson's choice is also mid 20th-century British rhyming slang for voice .
See also: choice
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ˌHobson’s ˈchoice

the choice of taking what is offered or nothing at all, in reality no choice at all: It’s Hobson’s choice really, as this is the only room they have empty at the moment.This expression refers to a 17th-century Cambridge man, Tobias Hobson, who hired out horses; he would give his customers the ‘choice’ of the horse nearest the stable door or none at all.
See also: choice
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

Hobson's choice

A choice that represents no choice at all; an enforced decision. The term supposedly originated with the practice of a Cambridge, England, carrier named Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), who insisted that his customers take whichever horse was nearest the stable door. If they refused that horse, he would give them no other. Whether this origin is true or not, the term was adopted and appeared in print in several mid-seventeenth-century sources. It is heard less often today.
See also: choice
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

Hobson's choice

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.”
See also: choice
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in classic literature ?
Rose despised this taste at first, but soon got interested in Livingstone's adventures, Hobson's stirring life in India, and the brave trials and triumphs of Watt and Arkwright, Fulton, and "Palissy, the Potter." The true, strong books helped the dreamy girl; her faithful service and sweet patience touched and won the boy; and long afterward both learned to see how useful those seemingly hard and weary hours had been to them.
Nor was this the worst; for not the crew only, but, in many cases, captain and officers as well, would join in the stampede to the diggings; and we found Hobson's Bay the congested asylum of all manner of masterless and deserted vessels.
I live at Hobson's Patch, and that's here where we are drawing up.
Jackson's, another at Smith's, and a third at Hobson's, we got along even more comfortably than before: though my mother affirmed we had better keep within bounds, for our prospects of wealth were but precarious, after all; and if my father would only trust everything to her management, he should never feel himself stinted: but he, for once, was incorrigible.
There's Hobson, the Babtis' preacher; and Deacon Lot Hovey, and Ben Rucker, and Abner Shackleford, and Levi Bell, the lawyer; and Dr.
REVIEW Hobson's Choice Birmingham Hippodrome By Maria Cusine BIRMINGHAM Royal Ballet director David Bintley has come full circle by choosing one of his earliest creations as his swansong.
Machelle Hobson's children had no food, water or access to a bathroom whenever they were sequestered in a closet, according to a police report.
It was not immediately known how many children Hobson has beyond the adopted youngsters.
Big I New York Appoints Hobson as Director of Government Relations
NEWSBOY'S 1-2-3 1 THOMAS HOBSON 2 NEARLY CAUGHT 3 PALLASATOR THOMAS HOBSON, runner-up in the Royal Ascot finale 12 months ago, should go one better this time.
Bride and groom: John Liam O'Callaghan, 23, and Kirsty Hobson, 23, both of Billingham Married at: Sporting Lodge Inn Hotel, Stainton When?
It will involve changing both the Arches and Hobson Way roundabouts into junctions with traffic lights and providing a new one-way link from Hobson Way to Jarrow Road.
The PS8.1m Arches scheme involves: | Changing the Arches and Hobson Way/Elswick Way roundabouts into signalised junctions | Providing a new one-way link from Hobson Way to Jarrow Road as well as converting the section of Jarrow Road to one-way between the extended Hobson Way and the A194 | Widening the A194 towards Hobson Way/Elswick Way junction to enable two right turning lanes on to Hobson Way | New and improved pedestrian and cycle routes.
Hobson was not the only 1940s novelist to publish an anti-Semitism themed novel, and her connection to a larger body of such literature contributes to the value of Gentlemans Agreement.
THERE HE IS: LOUIS HOBSON, THE WELL-PRAISED and in-demand Seattle actor with the supple, high-baritone singing voice, the heartthrob looks and charisma to burn.