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hulk

[huhlk]
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noun
  1. the body of an old or dismantled ship.
  2. a ship specially built to serve as a storehouse, prison, etc., and not for sea service.
  3. a clumsy-looking or unwieldy ship or boat.
  4. a bulky or unwieldy person, object, or mass.
  5. the shell of a wrecked, burned-out, or abandoned vehicle, building, or the like.
verb (used without object)
  1. to loom in bulky form; appear as a large, massive bulk (often followed by up): The bus hulked up suddenly over the crest of the hill.
  2. British Dialect. to lounge, slouch, or move in a heavy, loutish manner.

Origin of hulk

before 1000; Middle English hulke, Old English hulc; perhaps < Medieval Latin hulcus < Greek holkás trading vessel, orig., towed ship
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hulk

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He seemed huger than ever with his hulk sinking into the gray darkness behind him.

    Dust

    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • “Now the next thing is to get aboard the hulk,” was Dick's thought.

    The Dare Boys of 1776

    Stephen Angus Cox

  • Bought her for eight dollars of the feller that owned her, and she was a hulk for sartin then.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • He's been aboard this hulk afore, and we made him swim for it that time.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Near at hand was the hulk of the second ship, now a blazing furnace.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer

    Cyrus Townsend Brady


British Dictionary definitions for hulk

hulk

noun
  1. the body of an abandoned vessel
  2. derogatory a large or unwieldy vessel
  3. derogatory a large ungainly person or thing
  4. (often plural) the frame or hull of a ship, used as a storehouse, etc, or (esp in 19th-century Britain) as a prison
verb
  1. (intr) British informal to move clumsily
  2. (intr often foll by up) to rise massively

Word Origin

Old English hulc, from Medieval Latin hulca, from Greek holkas barge, from helkein to tow
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

Word Origin and History for hulk

n.

Old English hulc "light, fast ship" (but in Middle English a heavy, unwieldy one), probably from Old Dutch hulke and Medieval Latin hulcus, perhaps ultimately from Greek holkas "merchant ship," literally "ship that is towed," from helkein "to pull" (from PIE root *selk- "to pull, draw"). Meaning "body of an old, worn-out ship" is first recorded 1670s. The Hulks ("Great Expectations") were old ships used as prisons. Sense of "big, clumsy person" is first recorded c.1400 (early 14c. as a surname: Stephen le Hulke).

v.

"to be clumsy, unwieldy, lazy," 1789, from hulk (n.). Related: Hulked; hulking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper