hunker down

[ huhng-ker doun ]
/ ˈhʌŋ kər ˈdaʊn /
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verb phrase
to crouch or squat on one’s heels: Some of the taller kids have trouble with the exercises that involve a lot of hunkering down.
  1. to hide, hide out, or take shelter, often for just a few hours or less, as from a pursuer or a storm: Runaways hunkered down in all sorts of places along the Underground Railroad.Rain pelted our boat through the night, but we were able to hunker down in a small harbor until daybreak.
  2. to settle in to the safety of one’s home or other designated shelter for a potentially prolonged time, as would be necessitated by a natural disaster or an outbreak of a contagious disease: Before hunkering down, we made sure we had enough food, water, batteries, and first-aid supplies to last at least three weeks.Make a plan, and prepare to hunker down.
to hold resolutely or stubbornly to a policy, opinion, etc., when confronted by criticism, opposition, or unfavorable circumstances: Rather than moving toward compromise, both sides continue to hunker down.He hunkered down and refused to admit his guilt.
to give one’s full and earnest attention to a project, assignment, or other obligation: No partying for me this weekend—I’ve got to hunker down and finish this term paper.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of hunker down

First recorded in 1720–30; originally Scottish; hunker + down1

Words nearby hunker down

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use hunker down in a sentence