[ huhng-ker ]
/ ˈhʌŋ kər /

verb (used without object)

to squat on one's heels (often followed by down).
  1. to hunch: The driver hunkered over the steering wheel.
  2. to hide, hide out, or take shelter (usually followed by down): The escaped convicts hunkered down in a cave in the mountains.
  3. to hold resolutely or stubbornly to a policy, opinion, etc., when confronted by criticism, opposition, or unfavorable circumstances (usually followed by down): Though all the evidence was against him, he hunkered down and refused to admit his guilt.
Slang. to lumber along; walk or move slowly or aimlessly.


hunkers, one's haunches.


    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

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

Definition for hunkers (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

Related forms

Hun·ker·ism, nounHun·ker·ous, adjectiveHun·ker·ous·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hunkers

British Dictionary definitions for hunkers (1 of 2)


/ (ˈhʌŋkəz) /

pl n


Word Origin for hunkers

C18: of uncertain origin

British Dictionary definitions for hunkers (2 of 2)


/ (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