Word Origin & History
O.E., tribe from central Asia that overran Europe in the 4c. and 5c. (esp. under their king Attila, called Flagellum Dei "The Scourge of God"), from M.L. Hunni, apparently ult. from Turkic Hun-yü, the name of a tribe (they were known in China as Han or Hiong-nu). Fig. sense of "reckless destroyer
of beauty" is from 1806. Applied to the German in World War I by their enemies because of stories of atrocities, but the nickname originally was urged on Ger. soldiers bound for China by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900, which caused a scandal.