Word of the Day – Hummock

Word of the Day : November 16, 2022


noun HUM-uk

What it Means

  • hummock is a small round hill or mound.
  • // He stood in awe, admiring the thick forest, and beyond that, the grassy hummocks he had traversed to reach the top of the mountain.
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HUMMOCK In Context

“…Yellowlegs nest on the ground, often at the base of a small tree or mossy hummock, so I watched my feet carefully. The nest is a small cup in the moss, typically lined with little dead leaves, lichens, and sedges.” — Mary F. Wilson, The Juneau (Alaska) Empire, 14 June 2022

Did You Know?

Having trouble telling a hummock from a hammock from a hillock? Not to worry: all three words refer to a small hill or earthen mound. Hummock, in fact, is an alteration of hammock; this 16th century pair share an ancestor with the Middle Low German words hummel (“small height”) and hump (“bump”), the latter of which is also a distant relative of our English word hump. As for the 14th-century vintage hillock, a version of the suffix -ock has been attached to nouns to designate a small one of whatever since the days of Old English. Note that the hilly hammock mentioned here is not related to the hammock offering a swaying repose between supports. That hammock comes from the Spanish hamaca, and ultimately from Taino, a language spoken by the original inhabitants of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas.