[ huhng-ker ]
/ ˈhʌŋ kər /
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verb (used without object)
to crouch or squat on one's heels: He hunkered to be at eye level with his dog.I can’t hunker with this bad knee.
  1. to hunch: The driver hunkered over the steering wheel.
  2. to hide, hide out, or take shelter, often for just a few hours or less, as from a pursuer or a storm: The escaped convicts hunkered in a cave in the mountains.
  3. 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: Many local residents hunkered in the basement of the fire station.
Slang. to lumber along; walk or move slowly or aimlessly: A small black bear was seen hunkering through the neighborhood.
hunkers, one's haunches.
Verb Phrases
hunker down. See entry at hunker down.
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Idioms about hunker

    on one's hunkers,
    1. British Informal. squatting on one's heels.
    2. suffering a period of poverty, bad luck, or the like.

Origin of hunker

First recorded in 1710–20; apparently hunk (perhaps nasalized variant of huck “haunch”; akin to Old Norse hūka “to crouch”) + -er6

Other definitions for hunker (2 of 2)

[ huhng-ker ]
/ ˈhʌŋ kər /

a member of the conservative faction in the Democratic Party in New York State, 1845–48.

Origin of Hunker

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45; origin uncertain


Hun·ker·ism, nounHun·ker·ous, adjectiveHun·ker·ous·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use hunker in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hunker

/ (ˈhʌŋkə) /

(intr often foll by down) to squat; crouch
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