Where does the word “huggermugger” come from and What does huggermugger mean?

Perhaps the term “huggermugger” should be passed over in silence, for its source is certainly as concealed and secret as is meant by huggermugger itself.

Undoubtedly the rhyming term in one or another of its several variations, hoker-moker, hocker-mocker, hucker-mucker, or even hudder-mudder, had long been in colloquial use before the sixteenth century, but it first appeared in print in Sir Thomas More’s Dyaloge on the Worshyp of Ymagys (1529):

“He wolde haue hys faythe dyuulged (divulged) and spredde abrode openly, not alwaye whyspered in hukermoker.”

And on another page of the same work he wrote, “. . . these heretyques (heretics) teche in hucker mucker.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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