1. Any of the tendons at the rear hollow of the human knee.
2. or hamstrings The hamstring muscle.
3. The large tendon in the back of the hock of a quadruped.
tr.v. ham·strung (-strŭng′), ham·string·ing, ham·strings
1. To cut the hamstring of (an animal or a person) and thereby cripple.
2. To destroy or hinder the efficiency of; frustrate: "These worthwhile books are often hamstrung by unimaginative formats and inaccurate art" (Don Lessem).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.