[huhv-uhl, hov-]
a small, very humble dwelling house; a wretched hut.
any dirty, disorganized dwelling.
an open shed, as for sheltering cattle or tools.
verb (used with object), hoveled, hoveling or (especially British) hovelled, hovelling.
to shelter or lodge as in a hovel.

1375–1425; late Middle English hovell, of uncertain origin

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World English Dictionary
hovel (ˈhʌvəl, ˈhɒv-)
1.  a ramshackle dwelling place
2.  an open shed for livestock, carts, etc
3.  the conical building enclosing a kiln
vb , -els, -elling, -elled, -els, -eling, -eled
4.  to shelter or be sheltered in a hovel
[C15: of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1358, "roofed passage, vent for smoke," later "shed for animals" (1435), of unknown origin. Meaning "shed for human habitation; rude or miserable cabin" is from 1625. It also sometimes meant "canopied niche for a statue or image" (1463).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The new cabin is more akin to a permanent dwelling house than the hovel that served as an overnight hunting cabin.
Folks prefer in fact a hovel to your dreary marble halls.
Her new apartment, unlike her current hovel, would be fit for human habitation.
Defenders of generous state exemptions say that nobody should be turned out of a home, be it a hovel or a castle.
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