Definition of hunker in US English:

hunker

verb

[no object]
  • 1Squat or crouch down low.

    ‘he hunkered down beside her’
    • ‘I hunkered lower down in my seat and tried to pretend that I couldn't speak English.’
    • ‘I stay hunkered behind the teacher's desk, next to an open window.’
    • ‘The stench of sulfur filled the air as I dragged myself across the scree and hunkered behind a dark boulder.’
    • ‘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. 1.1 Hunch; bend.
      ‘burly workers hunkered over the menu of the day’
      • ‘Flash forward three years, and she is hunkering down over coffee to talk about her life and the theatre, once again.’
      • ‘He straightened and then hunkered over again and again, as if shocks of pain were shooting up his spine.’
      • ‘The obsessive artist spent hours hunkered over his mortar and pestle, grinding, grinding, mixing.’
      • ‘As they spend more time hunkered over their computers, they neglect family, friends and jobs.’
      • ‘The sight of them sitting next to one another, hunkered over the book as they finished the sentence, struck a deep feeling in him, though exactly what he couldn't identify.’
      • ‘She stopped in surprise, as she stared at Alex, hunkered over in the corner.’
      • ‘I spent my summer vacation at computer camp, hunkered over a keyboard programming an adventure game.’
      • ‘Deadly wrecks litter the roadside; we passed a large truck on its side, steel pipes scattered like matchsticks, the driver hunkered over, grimacing with pain.’
      • ‘A red headed boy with fine hair askew hunkered over me.’
      • ‘One cold day, I hunkered over some on a park bench.’
    2. 1.2US Take shelter in a defensive position.
      ‘the best way to deal with your father is to hunker down and let it blow over’
      • ‘But after the storm's deadly loop through the Caribbean, people from Miami to St. Augustine are boarding up and hunkering down yet again.’
      • ‘We had air raids in school where we had to hunker under our desks or squat down in the hallway with our heads tucked between our legs.’
      • ‘And those who aren't are stocking up, digging in, and hunkering down ahead of the second major hurricane to threaten the U.S. in less than a month.’
      • ‘But it was not until several days later, when our hosts at dinner regaled us with their account of hunkering down in a howling gale to avoid being blown off the mountain, that we realised how fortunate we had been to enjoy it.’
      • ‘We hunkered against the shore as a mini tornado flattened the water and whipped the trees into crazed dance patterns.’
  • 2hunker downApply oneself seriously to a task.

    ‘students hunkered down to prepare for the examinations’
    • ‘They have been hunkering down and they've reached a decision.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And I'm hunkering down on a book proposal about funky crafts to wow my favorite book publisher - Chronicle Books.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The image once of the lone engineer hunkered down working on a solution to a problem no longer applies.’
    • ‘Some people won't want to wait for the pieces to fall in place, but it's worth hunkering down for the pay-off.’
    • ‘I then hunkered down and got real serious, knowing I was going to have to fly the best instrument approach of my life.’
    squat, squat down, duck, duck down, hunker down, bob down, hunch over
    View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

hunker

/ˈhəNGkər//ˈhəŋkər/