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Hamstringing is a method of crippling a person so he or she cannot walk properly, by cutting the two large tendons at the back of the knees. A victim of this cannot stand properly, walk or run once the hamstring tendons have been cut. The victim is limited to use of the muscles on the top of the thigh for controlling the legs.

Hamstringing chariot horses as a means of destroying military resources is mentioned in the Bible; in the Authorized Version it is called houghing,[1] from an old spelling of hock.

"Hamstringing" or "to be hamstrung" is also a metaphor which refers to putting someone at any unfair disadvantage with respect to their competitors.

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