hov·​el ˈhə-vəl How to pronounce hovel (audio) ˈhä- How to pronounce hovel (audio)
: an open shed or shelter
religion : tabernacle
: a small, wretched, and often dirty house : hut

Examples of hovel in a Sentence

refugees living in crowded hovels
Recent Examples on the Web How far does the cash go? Mounir Kahil and his family, who live by candlelight in a hovel in Beirut’s southern suburbs, are among those benefiting from the cash handouts. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Sep. 2023 The movie, about three young women shacking up in a rancid hovel in the French provinces, premiered in Locarno and screened at the Oldenburg film festival in 2010. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Sep. 2023 This lush thriller swings back and forth through time and up and down the social ladder, from the hovels to the palaces of contemporary India. Washington Post Editors and Reviewers, Washington Post, 26 May 2023 Rogen is Herschel Greenbaum, a ditch-digger from an Eastern European hovel called Shlupsk, who immigrates to Brooklyn at the turn of the 20th century with his wife, Sarah (Sarah Snook), with dreams of buying their own gravestones and one day trying seltzer. cleveland, 5 Aug. 2020 In its compacted span, the text skips, as if powered by some infernal engine, across eons and eras: from mud hut to modern hovel, from Iron Age to ironclads. James Robins, The New Republic, 19 Jan. 2023 When Curtis moved to Little Rock in 1987, he was dismayed to see the condition of the house had deteriorated into a hovel for drug addicts and prostitutes. Dwain Hebda, Arkansas Online, 16 Jan. 2023 Fanciness dripped off of every castle wall and humble underground hovel. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, 26 Dec. 2022 Brendan Fraser rightfully earned praise for his compassionate turn as a morbidly obese man living out his last lonely days in a dim Idaho hovel. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 5 Dec. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hovel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hovel was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near hovel

Cite this Entry

“Hovel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hovel. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


hov·​el ˈhəv-əl How to pronounce hovel (audio) ˈhäv- How to pronounce hovel (audio)
: an open shed or shelter
: a small poorly built house : hut

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