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

intransitive verb

: crouch, squat
usually used with down
: 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

had to hunker down so no one would see him behind the gate
Recent Examples on the Web In his third-floor room at the Baltimore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, McNamara hunkered over three simple time bombs. Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2024 While most everyone in the area hunkered in basements, a team of nine scientists — storm chasers — sought to get as close as possible to the twisters. Evan Bush, NBC News, 22 June 2024 In times of high tension, shells fly and residents hunker in fortified foxholes. Charlie Campbell / Taipei, TIME, 13 June 2024 At one point in 1958, troops there hunkered in bunkers as Communist forces rained hundreds of thousands of shells on them. Amy Chang Chien, New York Times, 24 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for hunker 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hunker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1720, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hunker was in 1720

Dictionary Entries Near hunker

Cite this Entry

“Hunker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


hun·​ker ˈhəŋ-kər How to pronounce hunker (audio)
hunkered; hunkering -k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hunker (audio)
: crouch
hunker down under the tent
: to settle in for a long time
hunkering down for the winter

More from Merriam-Webster on hunker

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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