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Assibilated variant of hunk, of uncertain origin.

Alternatively, a derivative of hump, via an earlier Middle English *hunche, *humpchin, from *hump +‎ -chin, -chen (diminutive suffix), equivalent to hump +‎ -kin. In the sense of an intuitive impression, said to be from the old gambling superstition that it brings luck to touch the hump of a hunchback.


  • IPA(key): /hʌntʃ/, /hʌnʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌntʃ


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.




hunch (third-person singular simple present hunchs, present participle hunching, simple past and past participle hunched)

  1. (intransitive) To slouch, stoop, curl, or lean.
    Do not hunch over your computer if you want to avoid neck problems.
  2. (transitive) To push or jostle with the elbow; to push or thrust suddenly.
  3. (transitive) To thrust out a hump or protuberance; to crook, as the back.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  4. (intransitive, colloquial) To have a hunch, or make an intuitive guess.
    • 2010, Max Gunther, The Luck Factor
      People who are instinctive hunchers go through some such process at every decision-making point of their lives. It is likely that children often make decisions and discern truths by hunching.


Derived terms[edit]