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hunkered-down

adjective;
To be in a safe and secure position. This appears to be a slightly new and different usage of the term (semantic shift), which normally means to seriously apply oneself to some task or hold strongly to defending an opinion. The new usage seems to be generalizing the term to mean to hold fast to something or to be in a fortified and serious position. This shows a focus on the original meaning of the word, hunker (early 18th century), which means to crouch near the ground. A sense of protection and fortification seems to be implied as the connotation of the word.
 
We’re hunkered down awaiting [Hurricane] Rita.
Etymology : The word hunker is thought to have originated in the English language around the early 18th century, but its origin and parsing is unknown.
Source : ABC News
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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