hugger-mugger

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Of unknown origin; perhaps from Anglo-Irish cuggermugger (a whispering, a low-voiced gossiping), from Irish cogair (whisper). Compare also Swedish mjugg.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈhʌɡ.əˌmʌɡ.ə/, /ˌhʌɡ.əˈmʌɡ.ə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈhʌɡ.ɚˌmʌɡ.ɚ/

Adjective[edit]

hugger-mugger (comparative more hugger-mugger, superlative most hugger-mugger)

  1. Secret, clandestine, sly.
  2. Disorderly, chaotic, confused.
    hugger-mugger doings

Synonyms[edit]

Noun[edit]

hugger-mugger (uncountable)

  1. (archaic) Secrecy.
    • Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 4, scene 5
    • We have done but greenly in hugger-mugger to inter him.
    • Fuller:
      Many things have been done in hugger-mugger.
  2. Disorder.
    • 1942, Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Canongate 2006), page 990:
      As we passed through the quadrangle the church was glowing more brightly than a pearl, like a lily in strong sunlight, in spite of all the scaffolding and hugger-mugger.

Adverb[edit]

hugger-mugger (comparative more hugger-mugger, superlative most hugger-mugger)

  1. Secretly.
  2. Confusedly, in a muddle.