Definition of hunker in English:



  • 1no object Squat or crouch down low.

    ‘he hunkered down beside her’
    • ‘The stench of sulfur filled the air as I dragged myself across the scree and hunkered behind a dark boulder.’
    • ‘I stay hunkered behind the teacher's desk, next to an open window.’
    • ‘I hunkered lower down in my seat and tried to pretend that I couldn't speak English.’
    • ‘She hunkers down slightly further away, hugging her legs with both arms and asking brightly: ‘What were you going to say to Sharon?’’
    • ‘The publicity man hunkers down on the grass to steady her round the ankles while she grips her 253-year-old violin.’
    1. 1.1Bend the top of one's body forward; hunch.
      ‘she hunkered over the heater’
      • ‘Flash forward three years, and she is hunkering down over coffee to talk about her life and the theatre, once again.’
      • ‘One cold day, I hunkered over some on a park bench.’
      • ‘As they spend more time hunkered over their computers, they neglect family, friends and jobs.’
      • ‘He straightened and then hunkered over again and again, as if shocks of pain were shooting up his spine.’
      • ‘She stopped in surprise, as she stared at Alex, hunkered over in the corner.’
  • 2hunker downApply oneself seriously to a task.

    ‘students hunkered down to prepare for the examinations’
    • ‘I then hunkered down and got real serious, knowing I was going to have to fly the best instrument approach of my life.’
    • ‘The precious dialogue is sometimes muffled, so that I had to back up a few times and hunker down for serious lip reading.’
    • ‘If you are ready to hunker down and get serious, this one's not worth it.’
    • ‘The image once of the lone engineer hunkered down working on a solution to a problem no longer applies.’
    • ‘She hunkers down and keeps going, tough and diligent.’
    • ‘I am hunkering down for the next three weeks as I need to make my deadline.’
    • ‘He had a BA in philosophy, so he found work as a fry cook before hunkering down to adjudicate applications at the Passport Office for twenty-five years.’
    • ‘They have been hunkering down and they've reached a decision.’
    • ‘And I'm hunkering down on a book proposal about funky crafts to wow my favorite book publisher - Chronicle Books.’
    • ‘Some people won't want to wait for the pieces to fall in place, but it's worth hunkering down for the pay-off.’
    squat, squat down, duck, duck down, hunker down, bob down, hunch over


Early 18th century probably related to Dutch huiken and German hocken.