• synonyms


[huhv-uh l, hov-]
See more synonyms for hovel on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small, very humble dwelling house; a wretched hut.
  2. any dirty, disorganized dwelling.
  3. an open shed, as for sheltering cattle or tools.
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verb (used with object), hov·eled, hov·el·ing or (especially British) hov·elled, hov·el·ling.
  1. to shelter or lodge as in a hovel.
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Origin of hovel

1375–1425; late Middle English hovell, of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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

  • Pierre pictured the hovel in the old quarter, which had just been mentioned by Felicite.

  • Certainly there was nothing gay to look at in the four corners of the hovel.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for hovel


  1. a ramshackle dwelling place
  2. an open shed for livestock, carts, etc
  3. the conical building enclosing a kiln
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verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. to shelter or be sheltered in a hovel
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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

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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper