• synonyms


See more synonyms for hulking on Thesaurus.com
  1. heavy and clumsy; bulky.
Show More

Origin of hulking

First recorded in 1690–1700; hulk + -ing2


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com


  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.
Show More
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.
Show More

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 hulking

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for hulking


  1. big and ungainlyAlso: hulky
Show More


  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
Show More
  1. (intr) British informal to move clumsily
  2. (intr often foll by up) to rise massively
Show More

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 hulking


"big, clumsy," 1690s (through 18c. usually with fellow), from hulk (n.).

Show More



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).

Show More



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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper