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Why do we say 'Hobson's Choice'?

Average: 4 (11 votes)

'You can have a white horse or a white horse...that's Hobson's choice!'

Meaning: to have no choice at all. The only option you have is the one that is being offered to you.

Thomas Hobson (1545 – 1631) was a real historical figure who ran a horse rental business in Cambridge.

He had, in his stables, a large choice of horses but, as the story goes, Hobson would only rent out to his customers - mainly Cambridge University students - the horse which was standing next to the stable door. The choice his customers were given was 'this or none', i.e. 'Hobson's choice'.

'When we asked the receptionist for a double room she told us that they were fully booked and we could only have a single room...we were given Hobson’s choice'

Tell us about a time you had Hobson's choice? Add your comments below.