\ 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

In February, hunters in Utah claimed to have captured the hairy hulk on video, ambling across a mountain range. Fox News, "Shots fired near Mammoth Cave campsite after alleged Bigfoot encounter, report says," 1 Aug. 2019 Their muscles were bulging; hairless incredible hulks with flat abs and veins branching from their crotch into their lower stomach. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Where Is Neil Malcolm Roberts?," 29 June 2019 Then, early this year, a robotic camera, employed by a commercial team surveying an undersea route for a natural gas pipeline, illuminated not the gooey seabed but a mysterious hulk. William J. Broad, New York Times, "A Shipwreck, 500 Years Old, Appears on the Baltic Seabed," 22 July 2019 In Pripyat, the ghost town once home to 50,000 people who mainly worked at the plant, an amusement park houses a rusting hulk of a merry-go-round and dodgem-car track, and a giant Ferris wheel that never went into operation. NBC News, "HBO miniseries success drives Chernobyl tourism boom," 6 June 2019 Many of the Trona area's homes are abandoned – windowless hulks stripped of anything usable. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "Trona, California, was trying to bounce back. Then an earthquake hit. Then a bigger one.," 7 July 2019 Winds and ocean conditions take the sand away at times and expose more of the twisted hulk. John Christopher Fine,, "Boynton Beach’s maritime past lives on with Lofthus shipwreck," 21 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Trump administration has used diplomatic pressure, legal action, economic sanctions – and even cold, hard cash – to try to get its hands on a hulking Iranian oil tanker that has been spinning its way around Africa and the Middle East for months. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "What a multi-million dollar 'bribe' for oil supertanker says about Trump’s Iran policy," 8 Sep. 2019 All this tinkering with dog DNA has led to a plethora of diverse pooches, from the hulking Great Dane to the tiny chihuahua. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Dog Breeding Has Changed Pooches’ Brains," 4 Sep. 2019 Many of the beach cottages and bungalows that once filled the town of Rehoboth Beach, Del., have long since given way to modern, multilevel homes that are hulking by comparison. Chris Lindsley, Washington Post, "Rehoboth Beach’s Funland: A timeless treasure," 2 Aug. 2019 The video, directed by Rich Lee, is no less suffused with SoCal imagery, including scenes of the busy Port of Long Beach and of Del Rey surfing amid hulking offshore drilling rigs. Los Angeles Times, "Lana Del Rey shares video for two new California-kissed singles: Watch," 22 Aug. 2019 Succession stars Brian Cox as Logan Roy, the ailing head of hulking media conglomerate Waystar Royco. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Succession Season 3 Is Officially a Go," 20 Aug. 2019 Kristian Thacker for The New York Times CUMBERLAND, Ky. — A little after 4 p.m. on Friday, four hulking big-rig cabs, facing each other in pairs and taking up both lanes, brought the Kingdom Come Parkway to a standstill. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Unpaid Miners Blocked a Coal Train in Protest. Weeks Later, They’re Still There.," 19 Aug. 2019 After all, the installment centers around Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) and her abusive relationship with Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), the hulking Big Man on Campus with a three-mile-long rage streak. Ariana Romero,, "Thinking Through Euphoria Season 1, Episode 5: “'03 Bonnie and Clyde”," 15 July 2019 Today, the neighborhood is sandwiched between rail lines and the hulking Interstate 70 viaduct. Andrew Kenney, The Denver Post, "Incoming Denver Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca is a democratic socialist. Here’s what that means.," 15 July 2019

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

13 Aug 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

Comments on hulk

What made you want to look up hulk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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