Intermediate+ Word of the Day: huddle

huddle (verb, noun) /ˈhʌdəl/ LISTEN

A group of soccer fans huddling together

To huddle means ‘to gather together closely’ and ‘to get together to discuss something’ in a close group, normally so that you can talk to each other in low voices to avoid being overheard. It also means ‘to crouch or curl up.’ As a noun, a huddle is a closely gathered group of people or a group of people conferring or discussing. It can also mean ‘a heap or mass of things.’ In sports, a huddle is a group of players gathered to hear instructions on the next play or strategy.

Example sentences

  • The lost climbers huddled together for warmth.
  • The panel huddled to confer on their choices.
  • Christopher could hear strange noises outside and he huddled under the quilt for comfort.
  • Coming in from the cold, I joined the huddle of people around the fire.
  • When I got to work, everyone was in a huddle talking about the scandal.
  • A huddle of shacks had grown up on the outskirts of the city.
  • The players were in a huddle, taking instructions from their coach.

Words often used with huddle

go into a huddle: gather closely together. Example: “The quiz show team went into a huddle to confer on their answer.”

huddle up: something a coach can say when asking players to huddle. Example: “Huddle up! Let’s talk about the next play.” (A play is a plan for action in a sports game.)

In pop culture

Still not sure what a huddle is? You can see a sports team huddle here:

Other forms

huddler (noun)


Huddle dates back to the late 16th century. It replaced the Middle English verb hoderen (which appeared around the year 1300, and meant ‘to heap together’ or ‘to huddle’). Linguists believe both huddle and hoderen came from the Low German verb hudern (to cover or shelter). Its origins, however, can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European root keudh- (to cover, to conceal), which is also the origin of the word hide.

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