O.E. hulc "light, fast ship" (but in M.E. a heavy, unwieldy one), probably from O.Du. hulke and M.L. hulcus, from Gk. holkas "merchant ship," lit. "ship that is towed." Meaning "body of an old, worn-out ship" is first recorded 1671. The Hulks ("Great Expectations") were old ships used as prisons. Sense of "big, clumsy person" is first recorded 1597. The verb meaning "to go about in a hulking manner" is from 1793.