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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English haunche, hanche, from Old French hanche, hance, anche (compare French hanche, Italian anca), from a Germanic source, probably Frankish *ankijā, from Proto-Germanic *ankijǭ (joint; ankle), from Proto-Indo-European *ang- (joint; lith). Cognate with Old High German ancha, encha, einka (the leg; joint, bend) (compare Old High German anchila, enchila (ankle), German Hanke (haunch), West Frisian hancke (haunch). More at ankle.



haunch (plural haunches)

  1. (anatomy) The area encompassing the upper thigh, hip and buttocks on one side of a human, primate, or quadruped animal, especially one that can sit on its hindquarters.
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], volume II, London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], →OCLC, part IV (A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms):
      But I had no time to pursue these reflections; for the gray horse came to the door, and made me a sign to follow him into the third room where I saw a very comely mare, together with a colt and foal, sitting on their haunches upon mats of straw, not unartfully made, and perfectly neat and clean.
    • 1855 November 10, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “chapter III”, in The Song of Hiawatha, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor and Fields, →OCLC:
      And the rabbit from his path-way
      Leaped aside, and at a distance
      Sat erect upon his haunches.
    • 1916, Wilfred Owen, The Wrestlers:
      While Heracles, - the thews and cordage of his thighs
      Straitened and strained beyond the utmost stretch
      From quivering heel to haunch like sweating hawsers.
    • c. 1918, Carl Sandburg, Fog:
      The fog comes on little cat feet.
      It sits looking over harbor and city
      on silent haunches and then moves on.
    • 2018 July 15, Jonathan Jurejko, “Novak Djokovic Wins Fourth Wimbledon by Beating Kevin Anderson”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 14 February 2019:
      He [Novak Djokovic] dropped to his haunches just inside the baseline as Centre Court rose to acclaim the champion, hugging South African [Kevin] Anderson at the net before skipping over towards his box and celebrating wildly in front of his coaching team and wife Jelena.
  2. The loin and leg of a quadruped, especially when used as food.
  3. (architecture) A squat vertical support structure.
  4. (dialect) A jerked underhand throw.

Derived terms[edit]


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haunch (third-person singular simple present haunches, present participle haunching, simple past and past participle haunched)

  1. (transitive, architecture) To provide with a haunch or supporting structure.
  2. (transitive, dialect) To throw with an underhand movement.