\ˈhəlk \

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

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 So while MoMA’s exhibition does contextualize this concrete architecture, attaching names, places, and specific stories to the gray hulks, whether the summertime audience will care is another story. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Concrete utopia," 12 July 2018 But cheap gas isn't the only driver of the SUV boom: Today's models bear little resemblance to the hulks of yore., "American automakers scrap cars, ceding market to foreign makes," 23 Jan. 2018 Texas' Shin-Soo Choo and New York hulk Giancarlo Stanton, last year's NL MVP, both still play the outfield sometimes, which helps. Mike Fitzpatrick,, "MLB All-Star Game predictions: Who will start on July 17?," 6 July 2018 The trip to Oxford’s Winter Institute, which was housed inside a Brutalist hulk of a building on the University of Mississippi campus, marked the culmination of a monthslong unraveling of their grandfather’s story. Vanessa Gregory, New York Times, "A Lynching’s Long Shadow," 25 Apr. 2018 Last night, as Navy fire fighters began cooling the hulk with streams of water, first proof was found that some of the missing nine persons died aboard., "May 28, 1964: Ship aground on Silver Strand," 28 May 2018 But cheap gas isn't the only driver of the SUV boom: Today's models bear little resemblance to the hulks of yore., "American automakers scrap cars, ceding market to foreign makes," 23 Jan. 2018 The Pines resort, where Ms. Greco Sunshine, a professional singer, made her regional debut in 1970 at the age of 10, and which closed in the late 1990s, is now a rotting hulk. C. J. Hughes, New York Times, "In the Catskills, New Hope for the Return of Tourism," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That's closer to the size of an average convenience store (2,500 square feet) but nowhere near the size of the average U.S. supermarket, a hulking 45,000 square feet. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "A new Amazon Go store will open in Seattle. San Francisco and Chicago are next," 3 July 2018 Buy Photo The homicide detective slipped open the padlock on the closet in the bowels of the Roundhouse, Philly’s hulking police headquarters at Eighth and Race. Mike Newall,, "Locked away in a closet, Philly's historical homicide files tell the story of a young, cruel city | Mike Newall," 22 June 2018 The unit has already bid farewell to two players due to scheme fit: hulking defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and end Henry Anderson. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Two under-the-radar additions hope to find new life on Colts defensive line," 4 June 2018 From the start, his baggage was heavy, his obstacles hulking. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Michael Grimm Falls Back to Earth. In a Ballroom on Staten Island.," 27 June 2018 This from a guy Akash Singh had fired from This Side of Capital, a guy who’d had to clear out his desk within an hour, as a security guard hulked in the corner, watching his every move. Gary Shteyngart, The New Yorker, "The Luck of Kokura," 18 June 2018 There’s also the construction drama between Italian architectural genius Luigi Moretti and the federal government, as well as other political dramas spurred on by the college campus-like atmosphere the hulking complex evoked. Carson Bear, USA TODAY, "D.C.'s Watergate building: America’s most infamous address," 31 May 2018 The crowd was drained by a show that ran three hours too long and just came off a perplexing decision to have a child win the tag-team title with Braun Strowman, but fans in attendance hulked up to rain boos upon Reigns in the main event. Justin Barrasso,, "The Five Key Takeaways from WrestleMania 34," 9 Apr. 2018 Somehow, the youngest Skarsgård’s brother has figured out how to be skeletal and hulking at the same time., "Handmaid’s Tale," 13 July 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

19 Nov 2018

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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

: a large person


\ˈhəlk \

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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