\ 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

Examples of hulk in a Sentence

Noun The ship's rusting hulk is still visible on the rocks. the burned out hulk of the factory
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For years, architect-developer Bruce Redman Becker drove past the former Pirelli Tire Building looming over Interstates 91 and 95 in New Haven, wondering why the concrete hulk designed by modernist architect Marcel Breuer was empty. Stephen Singer, Hartford Courant, 22 Apr. 2022 The most conspicuous monument to the fighting is the smashed hulk of an Antonov An-225. Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2022 No one wanted to take on this crumbling hulk looming on the outskirts of the city. Until Lynn Saunders. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2022 To see this rusting hulk, start at Lunada Bay and walk north to Palos Verdes Point which is just under a half mile away. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, 10 Mar. 2022 Several plans to remake the rusting hulk as a hive of restaurants, shops, apartments and offices — a humbler version of the Pearl — went nowhere. Madison Iszler, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Mar. 2022 But the biggest of the three properties held the rusting hulk of National Welding’s metal-fabricating plant, vacant since 1994, while the two others were vacant fields. Don Stacom,, 5 Nov. 2021 Allonge’s base of operations is the drab fourth floor of a five-story modernist hulk across the road from the defunct Tempelhof Airport. Joshua Hammer, Town & Country, 28 Jan. 2022 The Little India Center, a two-story complex that housed henna artists, threaders, photographers and bridal studios, is an empty hulk. Los Angeles Times, 2 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the city of Midgar, Cloud, an ex-military mercenary with one hulking sword, is enlisted by eco-terrorist group Avalanche to take down a Shinra reactor, setting him on a path to reunite with Sephiroth, a figure from his past thought to be dead. Nick Romano,, 23 Apr. 2020 Giving the lie to the notion that indoor grills just don't match up to their large, hulking outdoor counterparts, the Breville Smart Grill is a powerhouse. Popular Science, 10 Apr. 2020 The idea is that in a war with China, America’s hulking aircraft carriers might be pushed far out to sea by the threat of missiles. The Economist, 31 Mar. 2020 So, instead of having one giant, hulking cabinet containing both, Stoffer designed two elegant, slender columns across the room from each other to house the family's GE Monogram fridge and freezer. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 18 Mar. 2020 The plan was to stay one night at a pretty country-estate hotel surrounded by seemingly endless fields of tall grass and hulking majestic trees that looked more like hyperrealistic drawings. Candice Rainey, Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Jan. 2020 At Crunch on West 23rd Street, there were hulking men spotted through the windows. Jacob Bernstein, New York Times, 17 Mar. 2020 The upcoming GMC Hummer pickup hulked in one corner of the dome and the Cadillac Lyriq, a futuristic SUV, shown across the aisle. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 4 Mar. 2020 Offensive lineman Justin Stevens — a freshman early enrollee from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia — posted a video to Twitter of himself lifting four massive tires with his hulking 6-foot-5, 292-pound frame. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 30 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near hulk

hul gul



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Last Updated

25 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hulk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hulk


\ 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on hulk

Nglish: Translation of hulk for Spanish Speakers


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