Hun

[ huhn ]
/ hʌn /

noun

a member of a nomadic and warlike Asian people who devastated or controlled large parts of eastern and central Europe and who exercised their greatest power under Attila in the 5th century a.d.
(often lowercase) a barbarous, destructive person; vandal.
Older Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a German, especially a German soldier in World War I or II.

Origin of Hun

before 900; 1895–1900 for def 3; singular of Huns, Old English Hūnas; cognate with Old Norse Hūnar; akin to Late Latin Hunnī

OTHER WORDS FROM Hun

Hun·like, adjective

usage note for Hun

The disparaging and offensive use of this term likens the Germans to the barbarous and warlike Huns of the 4th and 5th centuries. The source of the comparison was a speech by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900, encouraging German soldiers bound for China to act toward the Chinese just like “the Huns a thousand years ago.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for huns

British Dictionary definitions for huns

Hun
/ (hʌn) /

noun

a member of any of several Asiatic nomadic peoples speaking Mongoloid or Turkic languages who dominated much of Asia and E Europe from before 300 bc, invading the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries a.d
informal (esp in World War I) a derogatory name for a German (def. 2)
informal a vandal

Derived forms of Hun

Hunlike, adjective

Word Origin for Hun

Old English Hūnas, from Late Latin Hūnī, from Turkish Hun-yū
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

Culture definitions for huns

Huns

A tribe from western Asia who conquered much of central and eastern Europe during the fifth century. The Huns were known for their cruelty and destructiveness.

notes for Huns

The British frequently referred to German soldiers as “Huns” during World War I and World War II as a way of emphasizing their supposed brutality.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.