I have found some sentences where "hose <something>" is not used as literally watering.

Examples of this use I don't know:

Ghostery completely hosed Firefox and I had to delete Firebox [and] download a fresh copy sans Ghostery

Hosed my Firefox after Hardy install (more context here)

I hosed my website (more context here)

So, what does it mean that something get hosed in this context?

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    to hose (sense 5) : (transitive, computing) To break a computer so everything needs to be reinstalled; to wipe all files. Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 12:27
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    Oh, so it was in an online dictionary, my fault (couldn't find it in Wordreference and gave up too soon). Thank you.
    – Lucas
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 12:34
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    No problem! I became curious 'cause I did not know this sense too. Of the unorthodox uses of hosed, I was only acquainted with the antipodean "home and hosed". (0: Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


This meaning of "hosed" is figurative. The metaphor is from when Bull Connor's government forces used fire hoses to control crowds of protesters, in the early 1960s. (The early 1980s Polish government used the same tactic against Solidarity protesters.) The spray from a firehose is very intense.

MIT students used this metaphor to describe the difficulty of their studies: "An MIT education is like taking a drink from a firehose."

"Hosed" has since been used to describe episodes where a high-technology item is ruined, especially as a result of trying to install another high-technology item.

The New Hacker's Dictionary is a good reference for terms like "hosed".

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