hun·​ker | \ ˈhəŋ-kər How to pronounce hunker (audio) \
hunkered; hunkering\ ˈhəŋ-​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce hunkering (audio) \

Definition of hunker

intransitive verb

1 : crouch, squat usually used with down
2 : to settle in or dig in for a sustained period used with down hunker down for a good long waitNew Yorker

Examples of hunker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Hanuman Verma, a local journalist, said that residents are hunkering down in their homes, avoiding work and refraining from shopping during the day. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "‘It’s horrid’: India roasts under heat wave with temperatures above 120 degrees," 6 June 2019 Hanuman Verma, a local journalist, said that residents are hunkering down in their homes, avoiding work and refraining from shopping during the day. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Northern India roasts as temperature tops 120," 5 June 2019 As Washington braced for a snowstorm on Saturday morning, Trump was hunkered down in his private quarters at the White House tweeting taunts to Democrats. Seung-min Kim, The Seattle Times, "Inside Trump’s defiance on the longest shutdown ever," 13 Jan. 2019 Surround yourself with the heady blossoms and hunker down in a suite at the clifftop Alila Jabal Akhdar. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "30 Places to Travel This Spring," 12 Feb. 2018 The sudden order to hunker down can overwhelm students, who have wept and soiled themselves, written farewell messages to family members and wills explaining what should be done with their bicycles and PlayStations. John Woodrow Cox, The Seattle Times, "Numerous school lockdowns are traumatizing the nation’s children," 26 Dec. 2018 Protesters are hunkering down in front of the board office. Barbara Boyer,, "Parents, students protest Camden school district to demand adequate funding for books and supplies," 1 May 2018 Most wasps die of starvation over the winter months, with only a few females—hopeful queens-to-be—hunkering down to wait out the cold. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp," 22 Mar. 2018 The restaurant, unlike some others on the scenic peninsula, doesn’t take the winter off, although its goats hunker down at the Johnson farm a few miles from the restaurant, listening to a little National Public Radio. Terri Milligan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Al Johnson's brings the restaurant's products to your home, but its famous goats stay back in Door County," 30 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of hunker

1720, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hunker

probably akin to Middle Dutch hucken, huken to squat, Middle Low German hōken to squat, peddle, Old Norse hūka to squat

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hunker

Dictionary Entries near hunker





hunker down



Statistics for hunker

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hunker

The first known use of hunker was in 1720

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hunker



English Language Learners Definition of hunker

chiefly US : to lower your body to the ground by bending your legs


hun·​ker | \ ˈhəŋ-kər How to pronounce hunker (audio) \
hunkered; hunkering

Kids Definition of hunker

: crouch entry 1 She hunkered in the tall grass.
hunker down
: to settle in for a long time He hunkered down for the winter.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hunker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hunker

Nglish: Translation of hunker for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hunker for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hunker

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!