• IPA: /hʌntʃ/, /hʌnʃ/

hunch (plural hunches)

  1. A hump; a protuberance.
  2. A stooped or curled posture; a slouch.
    The old man walked with a hunch.
  3. A theory, idea, or guess; an intuitive impression that something will happen.
    I have a hunch they'll find a way to solve the problem.
  4. A hunk; a lump; a thick piece.
    a hunch of bread
  5. A push or thrust, as with the elbow.
Synonyms Translations Translations Verb

hunch (hunchs, present participle hunching; past and past participle hunched)

  1. (intransitive) To bend the top of one's body forward while raising one's shoulders.
    Synonyms: slouch, stoop, lean
    Don't hunch over your computer if you want to avoid neck problems.
    • 1961, Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, New York: HarperPerenniel, 1994, Chapter 5, p. 156,
      Sandy, you will never get anywhere by hunching over your putter, hold your shoulders back and bend from the waist.
    • 1978, Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City, New York: Ballantine Books, “… and many happy returns,” p. 76,
      She rolled over and hunched into a fetal position.
  2. (transitive) To raise (one's shoulders) (while lowering one's head or bending the top of one's body forward); to curve (one's body) forward (sometimes followed by up).
    They stood outside the door hunching themselves against the rain and puffing on their cigarettes.
    He hunched up his shoulders and stared down at the ground.
    • 1672, Edward Ravenscroft, The Citizen Turn’d Gentleman, London: Thomas Dring, Act I, Scene 1, p. 4,
      Danc[ing] Mast[er]. […] not too fast […] keep you[r] leg[s] straight, […] don’t hunch up your shoulders so;
    • 1924, Ford Madox Ford, Some Do Not ..., New York: Grosset & Dunlap, Part 2, Chapter 2,
      If you hunch your shoulders too long against a storm your shoulders will grow bowed....
    • 1938, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, New York: Scribner, Chapter 17,
      He would hunch his twisted body close and put out his gentle and crooked hand and touch the fawn.
    • 1939, John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, New York: Viking, 1958, Chapter 10, p. 142,
      They sat looking out at the dark, at the square of light the kitchen lantern threw on the ground outside the door, with a hunched shadow of Grampa in the middle of it.
  3. (intransitive) To walk (somewhere) while hunching one's shoulders.
    Synonyms: slouch
    • 1955, J. P. Donleavy, The Ginger Man, New York: Dell, Chapter 2, p. 9,
      […] the figure hunched up the road.
    • 1969, Ray Bradbury, “The Inspired Chicken Motel” in I Sing the Body Electric (short story collection), New York: Knopf, p. 57,
      […] once we had hunched in out of the sun and slunk through a cold pork-and-beans-on-bread lunch […] my brother and I found a desert creek nearby and heaved rocks at each other to cool off.
    • 1983, Jack Vance, Suldrun's Garden, Spatterlight Press, 2012, Chapter 18,
      […] wheezing and grunting he hunched across the room.
  4. (transitive) To thrust a hump or protuberance out of (something); to crook, as the back.
    • 1679, John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee, Oedipus (Dryden play), London: R. Bentley and M. Magnes, Act I, p. 6,
      […] thou art all one errour; soul and body.
      The first young tryal of some unskill’d Pow’r;
      Rude in the making Art, and Ape of Jove.
      Thy crooked mind within hunch’d out thy back;
      And wander’d in thy limbs:
  5. (transitive) To push or jostle with the elbow; to push or thrust against (someone).
    Synonyms: elbow, nudge
    • 1667, Roger L'Estrange (translator), Los Sueños of Francisco de Quevedo, London: H. Herringman, “The Sixth Vision of Hell,” pp. 182-183,
      After this, we saw a great Troop of Women upon the High-way to Hell, with their Bags; and their fellows, at their Heels, ever, and anon, hunching, and Justling one Another.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, London: for the author, Volume 2, Letter 1, p. 8,
      Hickman, a great over-grown, lank-hair’d, chubby boy, who would be hunch’d and punch’d by every-body; and go home, with his finger in his eye, and tell his mother.
    • 1899, Sutton E. Griggs, Imperium in Imperio, Chapter 6,
      He let his eyes scan the faces of all the white teachers, male and female, but would end up with a stare at the colored man sitting there. Finally, he hunched his seat-mate with his elbow and asked what man that was.
    • 1974, Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name, New York: Bantam, 1975, Chapter 12, p. 40,
      She hunched me and winked.
    • 1986, Billy Roche, Tumbling Down, Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1994, Chapter 6, pp. 102-103,
      […] Crunch burst through, pretending to be in Croke Park or somewhere, hunching me away with his shoulder and holding the ghost of other players at bay as he picked up the football.
  6. (intransitive, colloquial) To have a hunch, or make an intuitive guess.

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