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Hugger - mugger


The primary meaning is clandestinely. The secondary meaning is disorderly, in a slovenly manner. To hugger is to lie in ambush, from the Danish hug, huger, huggring, to squart on the ground; mugger is the Danish smug, clandestinely, whence our word smuggle.

The king in Hamlet says of Poloʹnius: “We have done but greenly in hugger-mugger to inter him”—i.e. to smuggle him into the grave clandestinely and without ceremony.

Sir T. North, in his Plutarch, says: “Antonius thought that his body should be honourably buried, and not in hugger-mugger” (clandestinely).

Ralph says:—

“While I, in hugger-mugger hid,

Have noted all they said and did.”

Butler: Hudibras, iii. 3.

Under the secondary idea we have the following expressions:—He lives in a hugger-mugger sort of way; the rooms were all hugger-mugger (disorderly).

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Hubbard (Old Mother)
Hubert (h silent)
Hudibrastic Verse
Hudson (Sir Jeffrey)
Hue and Cry
Hug the Shore (To)
Hug the Wind (To)
Hugger - mugger
Huggins and Muggins
Hugh Lloyd’s Pulpit (Merionethshire)
Hugh Perry
Hugh of Lincoln
Hugin and Munin [mind and memory]
Hugon (King)
Huguenot (U-gŭe-no)
Hulda [the Benignant]