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[huhn] /hʌn/

a member of a nomadic and warlike Asian people who devastated or controlled large parts of eastern and central Europe and who exercised their greatest power under Attila in the 5th century a.d.
(often lowercase) a barbarous, destructive person; vandal.
Older Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a German, especially a German soldier in World War I or II.
a member of any of several Asiatic nomadic peoples speaking Mongoloid or Turkic languages who dominated much of Asia and E Europe from before 300 bc, invading the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries a.d
(informal) (esp in World War I) a derogatory name for a German (sense 2)
(informal) a vandal

Old English, person from a tribe from central Asia that overran Europe in the 4c. and 5c., from Medieval Latin Hunni, apparently ultimately from Turkic Hun-yü, the name of a tribe (they were known in China as Han or Hiong-nu). Figurative sense of “reckless destroyer of beauty” is from 1806. Applied to the German in World War I by their enemies because of stories of atrocities, but the nickname originally was urged on German soldiers bound for China by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900, which caused a scandal.

A tribe from western Asia who conquered much of central and eastern Europe during the fifth century. The Huns were known for their cruelty and destructiveness.

Note: The British frequently referred to German soldiers as “Huns” during World War I and World War II as a way of emphasizing their supposed brutality.


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