Definition of hovel in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈhəvəl/
Pronunciation: /ˈhävəl/


1A small, squalid, unpleasant, or simply constructed dwelling.
Example sentences
  • Despite their squalid hovels and ragged clothes, Arthur Young reported that the poor of Ireland were ‘as athletic in their form, as robust, and as capable of enduring labour as any upon earth’.
  • Although Uncle Roger lives in a small ramshackle cottage that looks more like a rat-infested hovel, Colin believes the man is a miser, and is sure there's money that has been stashed away.
  • Grungy bands of humans huddle around rubbish fires in hovels constructed of old tires and scrap metal.
1.1 archaic An open shed or outbuilding, used for sheltering cattle or storing grain or tools.
Example sentences
  • Nearly the entire 200 kilometre stretch of road was lined with the epitome of mediocrity; a mess of atrocious looking utility hovels, sheds, shops and repair facilities.
  • The village became dirtier as they moved away from the castle: shops and smithies gave way to hovels and pig pens.
  • Kent tries to persuade him to shelter in a hovel, and they go off to look for it.
shack, slum, chantey, hut
informal dump, hole, dive, pigsty
2 historical A conical building enclosing a kiln.
Example sentences
  • The HOVEL acts as a chimney; taking away the smoke, creating draught and protecting the oven inside from the weather and uneven draughts.
  • These photos were taken today, and show progress on excavating the centre of the kiln, and also exposing the rest of the outer hovel wall.


Late Middle English: of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with hovel

grovel, novel

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hov·el

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.