\ ˈhəlk How to pronounce hulk (audio) \

Definition of hulk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a heavy clumsy ship
b(1) : the body of an old ship unfit for service
(2) : a ship used as a prison usually used in plural every prisoner sent to the hulks— Kenneth Roberts
c : an abandoned wreck or shell (as of a building or automobile)
2 : one that is bulky or unwieldy


hulked; hulking; hulks

Definition of hulk (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 dialectal, England : to move ponderously
2 : to appear impressively large or massive : loom factories hulked along the river

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Examples of hulk in a Sentence


The ship's rusting hulk is still visible on the rocks. the burned out hulk of the factory

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This is the place, this hulk of a building just off Interstate 880 in Oakland, that wrapped its arms around this storied team and nurtured its epic rise. Randy Vazquez, The Mercury News, "Video: Goodbye, Oracle. Thanks for the memories — it’s been a heck of a ride!," 13 June 2019 Evan Karp, 36, a hulk of a jumper with a thick, untamed beard, sets up a water pump and begins laying hose while the rest of the men race back to the fire. Mark Jenkins, National Geographic, "When wildfires break out, this elite team of ‘smokejumpers’ parachute in," 12 June 2019 From the beach, the idle works hulk over the skyline. The Economist, "Four years after its steelworks shut, Redcar is recovering," 6 June 2019 MSI GS65 Stealth Thin upgrade options: Not fun Outside of hulks such as Alienware’s Area 51m, upgrades on gaming laptops are generally limited to storage and RAM. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "MSI GS65 Stealth Thin Review: This thin gaming laptop features 9th-gen Core and GTX 1660 Ti," 6 June 2019 Guardiola’s players were too quick, too bright, too smart for the lumbering hulks José Mourinho had sent out to try to quell them. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Paul Pogba and Manchester United Spoil City’s Championship Party," 7 Apr. 2018 Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary, was an unlikely partner, a working-class hulk who rose through Labour’s ranks to serve in Churchill’s war cabinet and then became the key figure in the postwar Labour government. Wm. Roger Louis, WSJ, "‘Grand Improvisation’ Review: Rising Eagle, Wounded Lion," 16 Oct. 2018 Gold, decked out in his signature suspenders, frizzy ginger hair brushing his shoulders, hulks over a tiny laptop, pecking out his next piece. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Remembering Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer-Winning Food Critic and Los Angeles Icon," 22 July 2018 Everyone fighting over who katherine langford is going to be in avengers 4 has me WEAK LMFOAJSJS watch her turn out to be some irrelevant barista running away from danger because the hulk destroyed her cafe. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "People Think Katherine Langford Will Play Hawkeye in "Avengers 4"," 29 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Clad head to toe in black with a bushy beard and dark shades, Christopher Philip Ahn cut an imposing, hulking figure on the stoop of the North Korean embassy in Madrid. Victoria Kim,, "Attorneys for ex-Marine accused in North Korean embassy attack say he faces retaliation," 7 June 2019 However, the Air Force also invented the Cart Start method in case the hulking bombers needed to get on the move. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a B-52’s Engines Literally Explode Into Action With a “Cart Start”," 19 Apr. 2019 Along with the folding phones and hulking battery monsters that were released during and around the annual Mobile World Congress, an age-old mobile phone trend is clawing its way back out of the grave for what feels like the hundredth time. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "The Keyboard Phone Just Will Not Die," 28 Feb. 2019 Ghani supervised one Tuesday evening as a crane lifted one of the slabs, known as T-walls, that had long hulked over a road in downtown Baghdad. Nabih Bulos, The Seattle Times, "Baghdad, once a jewel among Arab capitals, is barely functional," 28 Jan. 2019 Mark Knight of Melbourne’s Herald Sun depicted Williams as an irate, hulking, big-mouthed black woman jumping up and down on a broken racket. Deepti Hajela, The Seattle Times, "Serena Williams’ treatment resonates among black women," 11 Sep. 2018 Zaryadye, built using the rubble from the hulking Soviet-era Rossiya Hotel that was Europe’s largest in the ’60s but demolished in 2006, answers new needs and aspirations—to be a showcase of the most up-to-date green urbanism. Julie V. Iovine, WSJ, "The Most Ambitious Park in Russia," 25 July 2018 The movement’s hulking raw-concrete structures then swept the globe—from the controversial Boston City Hall to Japan’s Saga Prefectural Gymnasium. Lauren Ho, Condé Nast Traveler, "Architectural Reboot: The Return of Brutalism," 20 Dec. 2018 Particularly the Hotel Excelsior, a posh, history-rich property that overlooks both the Adriatic Sea and the Old City's hulking stone walls. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "The Best Room At...Hotel Excelsior," 11 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hulk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hulk


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hulk


Middle English hulke, from Old English hulc, probably from Medieval Latin holcas, from Greek holkas, from helkein to pull — more at sulcus

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Dictionary Entries near hulk



hul gul





Statistics for hulk

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for hulk

The first known use of hulk was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hulk



English Language Learners Definition of hulk

: the main part of something (such as a ship, car, or building) that has been ruined and is no longer used
informal : a large person


\ ˈhəlk How to pronounce hulk (audio) \

Kids Definition of hulk

1 : a person or thing that is bulky or clumsy
2 : an abandoned wreck or shell of something (as a ship)

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More from Merriam-Webster on hulk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hulk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hulk

Spanish Central: Translation of hulk

Nglish: Translation of hulk for Spanish Speakers

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