Definition of huddle in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Crowd together; nestle closely.

    ‘they huddled together for warmth’
    • ‘The three guards selected exited rapidly to carry out their monarch's wishes, and the four left huddled together like a bewildered flock of sheep.’
    • ‘For starters, on what seems like a daily basis, someone somehow wanders off unnoticed by a group huddled together in the middle of the desert.’
    • ‘Trying her best not to stare at the small groups of dirty pirates huddled together on the deck, Pearl followed closely behind Wesley.’
    • ‘There we stood huddled together amid a jeering crowd in a remote bus station of Hunan.’
    • ‘A hundred or so of us huddled together in the shelter of the lobby of the Hibiya Town Hall, where I had a strong sense of not being in my natural milieu.’
    • ‘A crowd of grey cloaked figures huddled together, like a ragged flock of birds.’
    • ‘Sparrows huddled together, perfectly still, like stone cherubs with their numb fingers thrust under their armpits.’
    • ‘Our family huddled together seeking solace and warding off the sense of fear and instability that engulfed us.’
    • ‘Last night they huddled together in sleeping bags as a bone-chilling wind and rain threatened to crack their resolve.’
    • ‘She huddled together with her mother, caring for her, making her comfortable.’
    • ‘On Monday it was easy to detect smokers on the streets of the county's town and villages with little groups huddled together outside their place of work.’
    • ‘It was a scintillating partnership that wowed the crowd and their teammates, who huddled together on the dressing room balcony to witness a stellar batting exhibition.’
    • ‘But when he returned, swinging his cane, he saw those two women sitting huddled together by the station wall.’
    • ‘Earlier, at the rail stations targeted in the attack, people huddled together and shed tears as memories of the blasts returned.’
    • ‘People huddled together or wrapped themselves in blankets to keep warm.’
    • ‘As the kids and I huddled together on the floor in the basement I sent up a silent prayer of thanks that we were all safe and basically in good spirits.’
    • ‘At one point, they were waiting for other members of their party to arrive by helicopter and had to sit huddled together under Porteous's big jacket.’
    • ‘Then I noticed a young family huddled together on the pavement.’
    • ‘Josh Long and Troy Driscoll huddled together at night for warmth while sharing a wetsuit they found in their boat, with one wearing the top, the other the bottom.’
    • ‘As he lost consciousness his friends put Mr Scoreby into a warming ‘space blanket’ and huddled around him to pass on their body heat.’
    crowd, gather, throng, flock, herd, pile, bunch, cluster, collect, group, congregate
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    1. 1.1 Curl one's body into a small space.
      ‘the watchman remained, huddled under his canvas shelter’
      • ‘I sighed, rolled my head around to look at her: huddled up into her corner of the carriage, hugging her knees with feet on the upholstery.’
      • ‘Then I sat watching the light show while James huddled up behind me on the sofa.’
      • ‘She hadn't woken up, but she was on the ground, huddled up, she looked like she was freezing, and she had nothing protecting her but a coat.’
      • ‘He huddled up into the fetal position and lay there a few moments, his eyes clamped tightly shut as that eerie voice filled his mind.’
      • ‘He was alone, cold and dirty, huddled up on the side of the road.’
      • ‘I dissolved some aspirin, swigged it, and then sat back to enjoy the first of several hot rum toddies, sipping gratefully, huddled by the big radiator in the kitchen.’
      • ‘She huddled up against his back, his hairless hide exuding a gentle warmth and feeling incredibly soft against her fingertips as she stroked his ribs.’
      • ‘The concerned father found his son, huddled up and petrified in the greasy well of the lift shift, clearly in pain from injuries he had suffered.’
      • ‘Next to us is a woman reading a book, huddled up, occasionally reaching for her glass of wine (in which the level scarcely changes all the time we are there).’
      • ‘While my case is pretty mild, I cancelled all the day's appointments and huddled up in bed.’
      • ‘They were now above Jim's cell, where Jim was sitting, huddled up in a ball, and then he got up and ran at the door, only to be thrown back.’
      • ‘I got her in and she eventually found her way to the small bathroom and huddled up on the counter in the dark.’
      • ‘When I pulled in, I saw someone huddled up next to the payphones.’
      • ‘He stayed in his position, huddled up with the blankets instead.’
      • ‘But on this particular morning she opened the front door to find a fishing box with nothing to indicate who had left it, just a fluffy puffin huddled up inside.’
      • ‘When she emerged from the thicket she saw a young girl, nothing more than a girl of fifteen, huddled up against the tree.’
      • ‘Someone was huddled in a nondescript heap against the wall.’
      • ‘Now, winter days, once spent huddled up with a favourite book, involve long walks in the park, often in hot pursuit of a toddler.’
      • ‘Keirian looked around his cell as he sat huddled up against the wall.’
      • ‘I was huddled in a chair in the lounge, cold cups of strong coffee by my feet.’
      curl up, snuggle, cuddle, nestle, hunch up
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    2. 1.2North American Draw together for an informal, private conversation.
      ‘selection committee members huddled with attorneys’
      • ‘At the end of the first day, long into the night as groups huddled around talking, discussing the world and its problems there was a coming alive of weary spirits.’
      • ‘At the end of the summer, the company's 19 senior guides will huddle for discussion and then provide written recommendations to the owners.’
      • ‘The Twins turned around and huddled discussing with each other what Melissa had just offered them.’
      • ‘As the defense huddles, he stands in front and calls the signals.’
      • ‘Jake huddled with the other members of the team out on the field.’
      • ‘The council huddled around to discuss a solution for the problem.’
      • ‘Cadets huddled together giving tips to their friends who were making last-minute preparations before taking the plunge.’
      • ‘The wise men of Uefa are huddled round a Swiss table.’
      • ‘Various clubs huddled in circles discussing their interests.’
      • ‘A week ago he was seen huddled in deep conversation with the former prime minister, who has ambitions to challenge the current one.’
      • ‘We huddled again, and finally after some discussion, we decided to go for it.’
    3. 1.3British with object Heap together in a disorderly manner.
      ‘a man with his clothes all huddled on anyhow’
      • ‘The wind picks up through our circle, huddling our clothes to us, and there can be heard in it the faint, restful remains of a note, as if the air had rushed through a whistling bridge before reaching us.’
      • ‘Around it huddled half a score of small sheds, which shared a common wall with the great stable and leaned against it as if for shelter.’
      • ‘Then they huddled bed clothes around themselves, sat up and simpered.’


  • 1A crowded or confused mass of people or things.

    ‘a huddle of barns and outbuildings’
    • ‘The harbour walk in Watchet was deserted apart from me and a huddle of damp pigeons.’
    • ‘He was high above York, looking down at the city sparkling below - the River Ouse and the snow-capped huddle of houses that lined it.’
    • ‘In their huddle of 20 were Troy Evans, Jay Foreman, Dave Ragone, Wade, Kris Brown, Tony Banks and Bennie Joppru.’
    • ‘We follow the sandy road that was once the sea and pause by a huddle of weather-beaten shacks.’
    • ‘With its huddle of houses around a crescent-shaped beach, Elie, in the East Neuk of Fife, has long been known as one of Scotland's most desirable holiday addresses.’
    • ‘In the huddle of the Old Town, space decreed that the myriad of clubs and societies met in public venues across the town.’
    • ‘There is a smoking ban here now so every pub and restaurant has a little huddle of smokers outside.’
    • ‘The huddle of poor dwellings, too small to be named a village, clings plastered like martens' nests against rocks, high above a green river.’
    • ‘In the quieter reaches of Taunton, walking through the back lanes from Magdelane Alley past the Church and into the huddle of old roads and shops by the river, it was truly pleasant.’
    • ‘A huddle of poky teashops serves the day labourers who congregate here in search of work, and travellers from the station.’
    • ‘Near an old iron radiator, a group of adults sit next to a rickety table, a huddle of fathers chatting and watching.’
    • ‘Malouma is from Mauritania on the west coast of Africa, immediately to the north of Senegal, and could rarely have encountered such an unhelpful context in which to impress the huddle of promoters and journalists.’
    • ‘In the middle of the boring huddle of dark blue and grey suits cutting their deals and looking round to be head-hunted, a handsome dark-haired newcomer cut an underdressed swathe.’
    • ‘After the long ferry journey, Puerto Natales appears as a cheerful huddle of brightly painted buildings clinging bravely to the shore of the Gulf of Almirante Montt.’
    • ‘The fishermen's village at Puerto Santo Tomás is a huddle of terraced shacks on the bluff above the bay.’
    • ‘Far ahead of us, the trees thickened into a forest that enveloped the slopes of a huddle of dismal, mist-shrouded mountains crouching in the shadows of the towering Swabian Alps.’
    • ‘Richard's head is shown side-on, like a keyhole, through which a huddle of other images are, almost literally, glowing.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, a huddle of hacks tried to write down his thoughts in the downpour.’
    • ‘Branden also joined the early morning escapade, but he merely sat down next to the small huddle of human mass on the floor.’
    • ‘Frequently on the run, we would occupy some huddle of rough huts from one insecure night till the next.’
    crowd, gathering, throng, flock, herd, swarm, press, pack
    collection, group, cluster, number, mass, selection, array
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    1. 1.1 A small group of people holding an informal, private conversation.
      ‘they stood together in a huddle, whispering to each other’
      • ‘Certainly chatting over meat pies and mushy peas in the bar, or gathered in huddles around the rickety stables and paddock, every colourful aspect of local life seems to be represented.’
      • ‘Ayhia watched incredulously as the Hinsef gathered together in a huddle, apparently to discuss what to do with her, though she couldn't hear them so she couldn't be sure.’
      • ‘He saw him gather five of the soldiers into a huddle and with his subtle, sinister voice began to speak again.’
      • ‘With that, all the popular girls gathered in a huddle and started whispering together.’
      • ‘Department teams also conduct brief daily huddles to review what did and didn't go well the day before.’
      • ‘The groupies put their heads together in a fluffy little imitation of a pep huddle and debated on it.’
      • ‘Rotatable or movable seating in large classrooms and auditoriums, so students have options for small group huddles or discussion.’
      • ‘They didn't appear to hear her, but were actually conferring in some sort of huddle, weapons and all.’
      • ‘So when they meet these days, they exchange a series of secret signs and code words, and then they go off into a huddle together and giggle a lot.’
      • ‘We made some extra stops, and sped past the small huddle of yellow-coated policemen on the track half way between Brentwood and Harold Wood looking at body parts on the track.’
      • ‘Now Sapio gathers his top managers in a daily huddle at 4: 37 p.m., just after the stock market closes, to go over the figures.’
      • ‘She rose from her seat and made her way to the other three, who had already gathered in a huddle at the front of the class.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, when a class has been together for a long time, the ‘old’ members may cluster together in an exclusive huddle.’
      • ‘A number of Dwarves were gathered together in a tight huddle, whispering furiously.’
      consultation, discussion, debate, talk, parley, meeting, conference
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    2. 1.2 A brief gathering of players during a game to receive instructions, especially in football.
      • ‘It wasn't that the players got in the huddle and said, ‘Let's flip the switch and turn it on now.’’
      • ‘This year she was so relaxed she even cracked a joke in a huddle during an overtime game in the Bridgeport Regional final against Connecticut.’
      • ‘At one point, he even refused to join the team huddle during a timeout.’
      • ‘Shots of Payton soaring, cutting, and emoting made up most of the replay reels, but the camera angles that caught Barry leading on-court huddles during game breaks said so much more.’
      • ‘All too often we have watched as Declan Kidney brought his players together in a huddle after a heart-rending defeat.’
      • ‘He's the best quarterback on the roster, period, because of what he brings to the huddle and the passing game.’
      • ‘Probably no one was happier to see David Carr back in the huddle than the team's top draft pick.’
      • ‘After being removed from a recent game, Gooden refused to join a team huddle.’
      • ‘His age means he won't step into a huddle and be intimidated by older teammates.’
      • ‘That's when a team's quarterback calls two plays in the huddle and tells every player to ‘check with me’ before the snap to know which play to run.’
      • ‘The crowd was restless, and when he had finished, the noise increased to a level above normal as they watched the two huddles of players, preparing for the game.’
      • ‘Players break from huddles quickly and swiftly move from drill to drill.’
      • ‘The first quarter horn has sounded and your team jogs to the huddle.’
      • ‘This inbounds play starts off the same way as the huddle, except your players face your inbounder this time, and they don't put their arms around each other.’
      • ‘Meanwhile at the ground, the Indian team is getting into its famous post-wicket huddle and gradually moving together around the ground.’
      • ‘Once the anthem was finished, the players moved to their respective side of the field, gathered into a brief team huddle, and then moved into position.’
      • ‘He's vocal in the huddle, telling the linemen what he wants and the receivers where they need to be.’
      • ‘After the anthem had been played, the players moved from the line to their respective half of the field and got into a brief team huddle.’
      • ‘Cameras will be placed in locker rooms, helmets, and huddles, and players and coaches will be equipped with microphones during games.’
      • ‘Scouts love his size, accuracy and ability to manage the huddle and game.’
    3. 1.3archaic Confusion; bustle.
      • ‘The installation of a station stumbled over no less huddle than that of the nuclear waste rejection.’
      • ‘A Sunday service which he had attended at the cathedral at that date had been performed ‘with more harmony and less huddle than I have known it in any church in England ’.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘conceal’): perhaps of Low German origin.