verb (used with object)

to thrust out or up in a hump; arch: to hunch one's back.
to shove, push, or jostle.

verb (used without object)

to thrust oneself forward jerkily; lunge forward.
to stand, sit, or walk in a bent posture.


Origin of hunch

1590–1600; 1900–05 for def 5; apparently variant of obsolete hinch to push, shove, kick < ?
Can be confusedhaunch hunch

Synonyms for hunch Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hunching

Historical Examples of hunching

  • Keep the head down—tight with the left—no hunching—pivot on the hips.

    Ade's Fables

    George Ade

  • A little, whispering, hunching stir went through the courtroom.

    Back Home

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • Presently they sought their blankets, leaving Gulden hunching there silent in the gloom.

  • Then hunching his shoulders, turned inland, and took the field path.

    Lady Cassandra

    Mrs George de Horne Vaizey

  • He shook Farrell off—as it were—with a hunching movement of the shoulder, and turned to me.


    Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

British Dictionary definitions for hunching



an intuitive guess or feeling
another word for hump
a lump or large piece


to bend or draw (oneself or a part of the body) up or together
(intr usually foll by up) to sit in a hunched position

Word Origin for hunch

C16: 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 hunching


originally (c.1500) a verb, "to push, thrust," of unknown origin. Meaning "raise or bend into a hump" is 1670s. Perhaps a variant of bunch. The noun is attested from 1620s, originally "a push, thrust." Figurative sense of "hint, tip" (a "push" toward a solution or answer), first recorded 1849, led to that of "premonition, presentiment" (1904).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper