Hobson's choice


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Related to Hobson's choice: Occam's Razor

Hobson's choice

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."
See also: choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
If you are not familiar with the common British expression "Hobson's Choice," it is similar to the American idioms "Catch-22" or "between a rock and hard place." The Turkish expression (in English) is "spit upwards and it goes in your moustache and spit downwards and it goes in your beard." Basically, it is having to make a choice between the lesser of two evils.
But Birmingham Royal Ballet's version of the 1954 movie Hobson's Choice which starred Charles Laughton in the title role, manages to recreate the "rom com" with style.
"This IPO event itself presents a Hobson's choice: accept governance structures which diminish shareholder rights and board accountability, or miss out on what appears to be one of the hottest business models of the internet age," ISS said in the report.
Hobson's Choice : People heading to the Tribhuvan International Airport on foot on Monday afternoon.
Another Hobson's choice is the "Pledge" to oppose any state sales or income tax.
Hobson's Choice (de David Lean); lunes 13 a las 6 pm The Sound of Music'.
HOBSON'S CHOICE: Kerry King from Slayer, left, and Bryan Adams, above
Hobson's Choice - a Chichester Festival Theatre production - ended its run at the Grand last night but it will be at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham from November 12 to 17.
Arnold composed more than 130 films scores, including "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness," for which he received one of Britain's prestigious Ivor Novello awards in 1958; "Hobson's Choice" and "Whistle Down the Wind."
He starred in a succession of David Lean films - In Which We Serve, This Happy Breed, Hobson's Choice and as Pip in Great Expectations.
Faced with this Hobson's choice, many of today's users are asking, "how can we have extremely reliable storage without the complexity?" In other words, are we bound to an ever-increasing spiral of complexity, or can storage be 'tamed'--be made simple--no matter what?
He wanted to use American technology to leverage an arms race that would force Moscow's wheezing command economy into a Hobson's choice between guns and butter.
When staunch members of the financial establishment start speaking the same language as labor unions and reform groups, it suggests that CEOs face a Hobson's choice: share power voluntarily or see it taken away.
Allowing the Hobson's choice to animate his criticism, Plagens found a frame that brought his reviews to life.