hunker

verb

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

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 Then as now, people hunkered over the soil and used their hands, earning too little to feed their families, forcing many households to borrow from loan sharks. Peter S. Goodman Jes Aznar, New York Times, 30 Dec. 2023 Even the seagulls seemed to acknowledge the stormy conditions, and a flock hunkered on a park hillside overlooking the water. John Hilliard, BostonGlobe.com, 16 Sep. 2023 Here and there, compounds cobbled together out of single-wides, tarps, pallets and other flotsam, ringed by wire fencing, hunkered in the sagebrush. Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Aug. 2023 Looking dazed and in considerable pain, Carlo managed to get on his feet and slowly skate across the ice, hunkered over, to make his way to the dressing room. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, 13 Mar. 2023 After Ukrainian soldiers tossed several hand grenades into the bunker, the Russian soldiers, including two who were H.I.V. positive, hunkered in a corner. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, 21 Apr. 2023 This affected me not at all, as I was already hunkered in my apartment with my tomes, reading and tinkering, attempting first the simple rites of Abramelin before swimming into deeper waters. Kent Russell, Harper's Magazine, 11 May 2022 After Ukrainian soldiers tossed several hand grenades into the bunker, the Russian soldiers, including two who were HIV positive, hunkered in a corner. Andrew E. Kramer, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Apr. 2023 But after days hunkered inside their homes, often as battle rages in the streets outside, more Sudanese and foreign nationals have sought to flee the city of five million people. Cora Engelbrecht, New York Times, 19 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Etymology

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hunker. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

hunker

verb
hun·​ker ˈhəŋ-kər How to pronounce hunker (audio)
hunkered; hunkering -k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hunker (audio)
1
: crouch
hunker down under the tent
2
: 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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