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[huhv-uh l, hov-] /ˈhʌv əl, ˈhɒv-/
a small, very humble dwelling house; a wretched hut.
any dirty, disorganized dwelling.
an open shed, as for sheltering cattle or tools.
verb (used with object), hoveled, hoveling or (especially British) hovelled, hovelling.
to shelter or lodge as in a hovel.
Origin of hovel
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English hovell, of uncertain origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hovel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The hovel of a cutter of wood into lengths for burning, was the only house at that end; all else was wall.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • He owned a piece of land beside the hovel of Hyacinthe Fouan.

    A Zola Dictionary J. G. Patterson
  • Yes, our love shall dwell in a palace of health, not in a hovel of disease.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • Certainly there was nothing gay to look at in the four corners of the hovel.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Pierre pictured the hovel in the old quarter, which had just been mentioned by Felicite.

  • If all else failed her, she told herself, there would be no Touraine hovel for her.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • The soil and the hovel were his, descended to him from his forbears!

    The Story of Russia R. Van Bergen, M.A.
  • My first school, where I was so proud to be received, was a hovel on the edge of a swamp.

    The Promised Land Mary Antin
British Dictionary definitions for hovel


/ˈhʌvəl; ˈhɒv-/
a ramshackle dwelling place
an open shed for livestock, carts, etc
the conical building enclosing a kiln
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to shelter or be sheltered in a hovel
Word Origin
C15: of unknown origin
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 hovel

mid-14c., "roofed passage, vent for smoke," later "shed for animals" (mid-15c.), of unknown origin. Meaning "shed for human habitation; rude or miserable cabin" is from 1620s. It also sometimes meant "canopied niche for a statue or image" (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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