American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Disorderly confusion; muddle.
- n. Secrecy; concealment.
- adj. Disorderly; jumbled.
- adj. Secret; clandestine.
- v. To keep secret; conceal.
- v. To act in a secretive manner.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Privacy; secrecy.
- n. In confusion; with slovenliness.
- Clandestine; sly; underhanded.
- Confused; disorderly; slovenly: as, he works in a very hugger-mugger fashion.
- To hush; smother.
- To take secret counsel; proceed clandestinely.
- n. archaic Secrecy.
- n. Disorder.
- adj. Secret, clandestine.
- adj. Disorderly, chaotic, confused.
- adv. Secretly.
- adv. Confusedly, in a muddle.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Archaic Privacy; secrecy. Commonly in the phrase
in hugger-mugger, with haste and secrecy.
- n. Confusion; disorder.
- adj. Secret; clandestine; sly.
- adj. Confused; disorderly; slovenly; mean.
- v. act stealthily or secretively
- adj. in utter disorder
- adv. in secrecy
- n. a state of confusion
- adj. conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
- The origin of hugger-mugger is unknown; it is perhaps from Anglo-Irish cuggermugger, "a whispering, a low-voiced gossiping," from Irish cogair!, "whisper!". Compare Swedish mjugg. (dictionary.com) (Wiktionary)
- Origin unknown. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But the rest are all hugger-mugger, and I like them that way.”
“The hugger-mugger squalor endured by the planet's traveling billions.”
“Brown may have tried to sign this wretched Treaty hugger-mugger back in December, out of sight and out of mind, but the truth of the matter is that he is in fact an EU enthusiast who has played a leading part in not just the drawing up of this Treaty but also the gerrymander that is seeing it through the process of ratification.”
“For we shall bruit his cowardice to the world if he signs us into serfdom hugger-mugger but make his face the face of the Treaty if he lets us see him do it.”
“There is nothing more repetitive and ritualized than the smooth management of a household; both forms and households can get claustrophobic; heaven turns to mock-heaven and hell into a farcical hell, and suddenly the heart goes all hugger-mugger (a Shakespearean hapax — hello Alicia!).”
“But people looking for a nice little historical hugger-mugger, with arriviste royalty and Victorian train schedules aplenty, will have a pleasant evening with it, I daresay.”
“I tend to enjoy single-issue stories in between longer arcs, and after all the psychological hugger-mugger, its nice to see Aquaman take on a giant sea creature.”
“He is then assisted by Young Justice, who also make a guest-appearance Red Tornado explains they were all watching TV, and all this hugger-mugger interrupted regular programming, so...”
“While some degree of political hugger-mugger is unavoidable in a game like this, the Jersey Devil takes no position on health care policy, and the Lemures care nothing about Iraq.”
“The mystery is actually a rather good one, with enough misdirection and hugger-mugger to delight any fan of Agatha Christie, although the tone is rather more Josephine Tey or Dorothy Sayers all to the good, in my book.”
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