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[hawnch, hahnch] /hɔntʃ, hɑntʃ/
the hip.
the fleshy part of the body about the hip.
a hindquarter of an animal.
the leg and loin of an animal, used for food.
  1. either side of an arch, extending from the vertex or crown to the impost.
  2. the part of a beam projecting below a floor or roof slab.
Origin of haunch
1150-1200; Middle English haunche < Old French hanche < Germanic; compare Middle Dutch hanke haunch, hip, German Hanke haunch
Related forms
haunched, adjective
haunchless, adjective
Can be confused
haunch, hunch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for haunches
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And all the while the she-wolf sat on her haunches and smiled.

    White Fang Jack London
  • The teamster reined up, throwing his horses upon their haunches.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • He shouted to them, and they sat down quietly on their haunches.

  • The horses sprang but were brought back upon their haunches.

    The Web of the Golden Spider

    Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • Jud dropped my rein and wrenched the Cardinal around on his haunches.

    Dwellers in the Hills Melville Davisson Post
  • Just sit on our haunches, and wait for our birds to drop into our hands, eh?

    Pathfinder Alan Douglas
  • The bear sat upon his haunches and complacently regarded the Yankee.

    The Young Miner Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • He sat on his haunches and looked at us, uttering a tremendous growl.

    The Land of the Long Night Paul du Chaillu
British Dictionary definitions for haunches


the human hip or fleshy hindquarter of an animal, esp a horse or similar quadruped
the leg and loin of an animal, used for food: a haunch of venison
(architect) Also called hance. the part of an arch between the impost and the apex
Derived Forms
haunched, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French hanche; related to Spanish, Italian anca, of Germanic origin; compare Low German hanke
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for haunches



early 13c., from Old French hanche (12c.) "hip, thigh; haunch," from a Germanic source, perhaps Frankish *hanka (cf. Old High German hinkan "to limp," ancha "leg," literally "joint;" Middle Dutch hanke "haunch"). "It is only since the 18th c. that the spelling haunch has displaced hanch" [OED]. Related: Haunches.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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