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See also: høvel



From Middle English hovel, hovil, hovylle, diminutive of Old English hof (an enclosure, court, dwelling, house), from Proto-Germanic *hufą (hill, farm), from Proto-Indo-European *kewp- (arch, bend, buckle), equivalent to howf +‎ -el. Cognate with Dutch hof (garden, court), German Hof (yard, garden, court, palace), Icelandic hof (temple, hall). Related to hove and hover.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɒvəl/, /ˈhʌvəl/
  • Rhymes: -ɒvəl
  • Rhymes: -ʌvəl
  • (file)


hovel (plural hovels)

  1. An open shed for sheltering cattle, or protecting produce, etc., from the weather.
  2. A poor cottage; a small, mean house; a hut.
    • 1944, Miles Burton, chapter 5, in The Three Corpse Trick:
      The hovel stood in the centre of what had once been a vegetable garden, but was now a patch of rank weeds. Surrounding this, almost like a zareba, was an irregular ring of gorse and brambles, an unclaimed vestige of the original common.
  3. In the manufacture of porcelain, a large, conical brick structure around which the firing kilns are grouped.



hovel (third-person singular simple present hovels, present participle hovelling or hoveling, simple past and past participle hovelled or hoveled)

  1. (transitive) To put in a hovel; to shelter.
  2. (transitive) To construct a chimney so as to prevent smoking, by making two of the more exposed walls higher than the others, or making an opening on one side near the top.