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1570s, "to heap or crowd together," probably from Low German hudern "to cover, to shelter," from Middle Low German huden "to cover up," from Proto-Germanic *hud- (see hide (v.)). Cf. also Middle English hoderen "heap together, huddle" (c.1300). Related: Huddled; huddling. The noun is from 1580s. U.S. football sense is from 1928.
A conference; closed and intense discussion: He went into a huddle with his aidesverb
: We'll have to huddle on that one
[1929+; fr the huddle, esp of the offensive team, before most plays in football]