early 14c., hurteln, "to crash together; to crash down, knock down," probably frequentative of hurten (see hurt (v.)) in its original sense. Intransitive meaning "to rush, dash, charge" is late 14c. "[T]he essential notion in hurtle is that of forcible collision, in hurl that of forcible projection" [OED]. Related: Hurtled; hurtling.
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