Difference between Hurdle and Obstacle

Key difference: The two words hurdle and obstacle are co-related to each other, but, a hurdle is a barrier which has to be passed, while an obstacle is a block inbetween the task.

The meaning of hurdle is ‘an upright frame, typically one of a series that athletes in a race must jump over’.

A hurdle is mostly a thing which is used in race. It provides a barrier while riding (horse-riding). It is passed by the riders in the race by jumping over it. Hurdles are light weighted frames placed on the race ground, which the riders are supposed to pass and move on.

Hurdles are used to stop something for some duration of time. They therefore act as a barrier inbetween the flow. They are especially used to reduce the speed of vehicles. The speed-breakers on the roads act as a hurdle. Hurdles are also used as gate providers.

An obstacle is ‘an object that you have to go around or over, something that blocks your path’.

An obstacle is an interruption which causes a barrier in the flow of the work. Obstacles occur suddenly and unknowingly. Obstacles are something which has to be overcome after some duration of time. They provide a block to the motion oriented objects.

Obstacles provide obstruction to the flow of work. A person has to wait till the obstacles get solved. They cause a delay in the journey of the work, hence the destination receives the output after some duration of time from the source.

Comparison between Hurdle and Obstacle:





‘One of a series of barriers to be jumped over in a race’.

‘Something that makes it difficult to do something’.

Type of interrupts

Hurdles are short duration interruptions.

Obstacles are unknowing interruptions.


Hurdles are generally overcome by crossing, or jumping through them

Obstacles are to be solved by some techniques.


They are generally used to reduce the speed.

They occur unknowingly and there is no such specific use of obstacles.


For example: the speed breakers are hurdles on the roads.

For example: a huge stone on the road acts as an obstacle.

Image Courtesy: merriam-webster.com, pwoessner.com

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