"to squat, crouch," 1720, Scottish, of uncertain origin, possibly a nasalized borrowing of a Scandinavian word such as Old Norse huka "to crouch," hoka, hokra "to crawl." Hunker down, Southern U.S. dialectal phrase, is from 1902, popularized c. 1965; in this use the verb is perhaps from northern British hunker "haunch." Related: Hunkered; hunkering.
"conservative, fogey," 1849, American English, especially and originally "one of the conservative Democrats of New York of the 1840s" (opposed to the Barnburners). Supposedly from New York dialect hunk "post, station, home," hence "those who stay safe on base" (see hunky-dory), but it also has been said to be from a local word for a curmudgeon, and hunks is recorded from c. 1600 as a name for a surly, crusty old person or miser.
updated on October 10, 2017
Dictionary entries near hunker