A choice without an alternative; the thing offered or nothing. The origin of the term Hobson’s choice is said to be in the name of one Thomas Hobson (ca. 1544-1631), at Cambridge, England, who kept a livery stable and required every customer to take either the horse nearest the stable door or none at all. In 1914 Henry Ford offered customers of the Model T a famous Hobson’s choice, making it available in “any color so long as it is black.”
Fagan’s defense revolves around his insistence that he faced a Hobson’s choice and had to act.
–Laura Parker, “Discovery of daughters never followed by reunion,” USA Today, May 11, 1999
They’re faced with a Hobson’s choice: Make the plunge . . . or face a terrifying alternative — gradual extinction.
–Heather Green, “The Great Yuletide Shakeout,” Business Week, November 1, 1999