What is the meaning of ‘hunker down’?

This expression, mostly used in informal contexts, has several different meanings.

When you ‘hunker down’, you sit on your heels; you squat.

Examples: The scouts hunkered down around the campfire and drank hot soup.

The expression can also be used to mean ‘to take shelter’.

Example: The blizzard compelled us to hunker down in a cave for a couple of days.

During a strike, if one of the two parties ‘hunkers down’, it very stubbornly sticks to a position. The party remains adamant and refuses to make any compromise.

As the management hunkered down, unity among the union members began to crumble.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – October 02, 2007


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