What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[huhv-uh l, hov-] /ˈhʌv əl, ˈhɒv-/
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.
Origin of hovel
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English hovell, of uncertain origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hovel
  • The new cabin is more akin to a permanent dwelling house than the hovel that served as an overnight hunting cabin.
  • Defenders of generous state exemptions say that nobody should be turned out of a home, be it a hovel or a castle.
  • When your stomach's empty, a beautiful building is nothing but a hovel.
  • She lived in a hovel with with four walls and a mud floor.
  • Folks prefer in fact a hovel to your dreary marble halls.
  • Her new apartment, unlike her current hovel, would be fit for human habitation.
  • Married with three children, he lives with his parents and sister's family-fourteen people crammed into a single-bedroom hovel.
British Dictionary definitions for hovel


/ˈhʌvəl; ˈhɒv-/
a ramshackle dwelling place
an open shed for livestock, carts, etc
the conical building enclosing a kiln
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to shelter or be sheltered in a hovel
Word Origin
C15: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hovel

mid-14c., "roofed passage, vent for smoke," later "shed for animals" (mid-15c.), of unknown origin. Meaning "shed for human habitation; rude or miserable cabin" is from 1620s. It also sometimes meant "canopied niche for a statue or image" (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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