from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Nautical A heavy, unwieldy ship.
  • n. Nautical The hull of an old, unseaworthy, or wrecked ship.
  • n. Nautical An old or unseaworthy ship used as a prison or warehouse. Often used in the plural.
  • n. One, such as a person or object, that is bulky, clumsy, or unwieldy.
  • n. A wrecked or abandoned shell of a usually large object, such as a building or vehicle.
  • intransitive v. To appear as a massive or towering form; loom: The big truck hulked out of the fog.
  • intransitive v. To move clumsily.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a non-functional, but floating ship, usually stripped of rigging and equipment, and often put to other uses such as storage or accommodation.
  • n. any large ship that is difficult to maneuver
  • n. A big, (and possibly clumsy) person
  • n. : An excessively muscled person
  • v. To remove the entrails of; to disembowel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The body of a ship or decked vessel of any kind; esp., the body of an old vessel laid by as unfit for service.
  • n. A heavy ship of clumsy build.
  • n. Anything bulky or unwieldly.
  • transitive v. To take out the entrails of; to disembowel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To take out the entrails of: as, to hulk a hare.
  • In mining, to take down or remove, as the softer part of a lode, before removing the harder part. See gouge, n., 5.
  • n. A ship, particularly a heavy ship.
  • n. Anything bulky or unwieldy; a large unwieldy person.
  • n. The body of a ship or decked vessel of any kind; particularly, the body of an old ship or vessel which is laid up as unfit for sea-service, or a dismasted wreck.
  • n. A hull or husk.
  • n. A hut.
  • n. A pigsty or a cattle-pen.
  • n. The holly.
  • n. In mining: The removal of the gouge or soft part from the side of the lode before breaking any part of the hard metalliferous portion of it down.
  • n. The excavation made by this operation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a ship that has been wrecked and abandoned
  • v. appear very large or occupy a commanding position
  • n. a very large person; impressive in size or qualities


Middle English, from Old English hulc, from Medieval Latin hulcus, probably from Greek holkas, ship that is towed, merchant ship, from holkos, machine for hauling ships, from helkein, to pull.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Compare Middle Low German holken to hollow out, and similar Swedish word. (Wiktionary)



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