\ ˈhənch How to pronounce hunch (audio) \
hunched; hunching; hunches

Definition of hunch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to push or put (someone or something) in a rough, careless, or hasty manner : thrust, shove I would hunch my chair … closer to my dear and only cronies— Mary Nash
2 : to thrust or bend (someone or something) over into a humped or crooked position hunched his shoulders as he headed out into the storm sat hunched over the table reading a map kept his … body hunched slightly forward— Tennessee Williams

intransitive verb

1 : to thrust oneself forward hunched along for a short spell of safe steps— T. B. Costain
2a : to assume a bent or crooked posture folded his hands on the table and hunched forward— Hugh MacLennan
b : to draw oneself into a ball : curl up hunch beneath the covers— Randall Jarrell
c : huddle, squat we hunched close to the damp earth— H. D. Skidmore the mountains hunched around the valley— Helen Rich



Definition of hunch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of pushing someone or something in a rough or careless manner : an act or instance of hunching (see hunch entry 1 sense transitive) give him a good hunch with your foot— Abraham Tucker
2a : a thick piece : lump barter it for a hunch of cake— Flora Thompson
b : a rounded mass : hump his back carried a huge hunch— William Scoresby
3 : a strong intuitive feeling concerning especially a future event or result had a hunch I would find you here

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Examples of hunch in a Sentence


He hunched his shoulders as he headed out into the storm. he hunched next to a bush to avoid being seen


My hunch is that the stock is going to go up in value. “How did you know I'd be here?” “It was just a hunch.”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

During breaks in the chants, people hunched over their cell phones, checking the Board of Elections Web site for the most up-to-date results. Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker, "Tiffany Cabán Upends Politics As Usual in Queens," 26 June 2019 This hunched and feral posture of grievance is then combined with a fiercely put-upon impatience with the service that viewers themselves are receiving. David Roth, The New Republic, "Making sense of Donald Trump's petulant reign," 12 June 2019 Downstage, Brooks hunched over and pinched his eyes, a swell of emotion threatening to burst the dam. Dylan Owens, The Know, "Review: Denver gives Garth Brooks the “greatest night of (his) career”," 9 June 2019 On a recent afternoon, two mothers hunched over their laptops at a table while caregivers tended their babies in the other half of the room strewn with toys, bouncy chairs and car seats. Motoko Rich, New York Times, "Japan Desperately Needs More Day Care Workers. New Mothers Need Not Apply.," 9 June 2019 After checking his watch a final time, Wiktor bows his head, hunches his shoulders, and sets out for the lonely freedom of the West. Giles Harvey, Harper's magazine, "Home Truths," 10 Jan. 2019 You’re at the airport or school and everyone is hunched over. NBC News, "Tech disorder? Smartphones linked to bizarre horn-like skull bumps," 20 June 2019 What the scientists are saying is that our bodies are adjusting to worsening posture by growing a spike at the base of our skulls to relieve pressure induced by hours spent hunched over our phones. Maggie O'neill,, "Horns Are Growing on Human Skulls Because of Phone Use—Here's How that Happens," 20 June 2019 His right arm is bent, his left extended, like a speed skater hunching with tension, his viola ready to race. James Florio, National Geographic, "See the wildest art destination in the West," 21 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

My hunch is the Electoral College is something most Coloradans oppose and, therefore, the repeal effort will be defeated. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Columbine High School’s future; A vote to diminish your vote; Artistic interpretation (6/12/19)," 12 June 2019 DeSclafani watched two fastballs go by for strikes and had a hunch a third one was coming. Mark Schmetzer,, "Top Cincinnati Reds games: No. 40 – Anthony DeSclafani's 2018 grand slam vs. Chicago Cubs," 5 June 2019 But Allison had a hunch that turning off CTLA-4 might unleash the immune system’s might against cancers, too. Quanta Magazine, "Nobel Prize Awarded for Cancer Immunotherapy," 1 Oct. 2018 During the math lesson, they hunch over Olson's desk and work problem-by-problem on box plots. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Squeezed by declining enrollment, Arizona's rural schools are suffering," 12 June 2019 At coffee shops and co-working spaces, people hunch over them, staring down toward screens perched at table-level. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "I Wrote This on a 30-Year-Old Computer," 11 June 2019 Sivin also had a hunch that Cabán would be an excellent campaigner. Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker, "Tiffany Cabán’s Feminist Coalition," 4 June 2019 Fielding’s hunch was that the survivors were those whose mothers ditched them near a dogless household of humans who found the pups irresistible. Karin Brulliard, Washington Post, "Puppies’ cuteness peaks right when they need humans most, study finds," 19 May 2018 Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania had a hunch about gun laws: A place with strict laws surrounded by states with lenient ones would have more shootings. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "The Spillover Effects of State Gun Laws," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hunch.' 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 hunch


1581, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hunch

Verb and Noun

origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near hunch








Statistics for hunch

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hunch

The first known use of hunch was in 1581

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More Definitions for hunch



English Language Learners Definition of hunch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to bend your body forward and down so that your back is rounded
: to raise (your shoulders or back) while bending your head forward especially to hide or protect your face



English Language Learners Definition of hunch (Entry 2 of 2)

: a belief or idea about something (especially a future event) that is not based on facts or evidence


\ ˈhənch How to pronounce hunch (audio) \
hunched; hunching

Kids Definition of hunch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to bend the body into an arch or hump Don't hunch over when you walk.
2 : to draw up close together or into an arch The cat hunched its back.



Kids Definition of hunch (Entry 2 of 2)

: a strong feeling about what will happen I have a hunch she will forgive him.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hunch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hunch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hunch

Spanish Central: Translation of hunch

Nglish: Translation of hunch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hunch for Arabic Speakers

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