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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Humpy \Hump"y\, a. Full of humps or bunches; covered with protuberances; humped.


Etymology 1 a. 1 Characterised by humps, uneven. 2 muscular; hunky. 3 Hunched, bent over. 4 sulky; irritable. Etymology 2

n. (context Australia English) A hut or temporary shelter made from bark and tree branches, especially for Aborigines.


A humpy or gunyah was a small, temporary shelter made from bark and tree branches, traditionally used by Australian Aborigines, with a standing tree usually used as the main support. The word humpy comes from the Jagera language (a Murri people from Coorparoo in Brisbane); other language groups would have different names for the structure.

Both names were adopted by early white settlers, and now form part of the Australian lexicon. Small impermanent dwellings, made of branches and bark (particularly paperbark) were built prior to the construction of more permanent buildings, and were referred to as humpies.

It is sometimes called a lean-to, since it can rely on the tree for support.

In South Australia, such a shelter is known as a "wurley" (also spelled "wurlie"), possibly from the Kaurna language.

Usage examples of "humpy".

He had bought an empty humpy, and, instead of getting tight, Why, the diggers heard him working like a lunatic all night: And next day a sign of canvas, writ in characters of tar, Claimed the humpy as the office of the CAMBAROORA STAR.

What he discerned was a humpy, chameleon-shaped beast the size of a large pig.

Midway along the humpy back there rode a second, seemingly female creature.

Bright black eyes and sharp brows, kind of a humpy walk, little thin, wet legs, all set to bite.

Ben, leading the way to the humpy carrels, who were peacefully chewing their cud and longing for the desert, with a dreamy, far-away look in their mournful eyes.

Switzerland is simply a large, humpy, solid rock, with a thin skin of grass stretched over it.

Now I had a reason to despise its humpy back, its sordid beach, the smell of peaches.

There the mad laird, or Mad Humpy, as he was called by the baser sort, often received shelter, chiefly from the family of a certain Joseph Mair, one of the most respectable inhabitants of the place.

Their heavy fur cloaks were white with the falling snow-flakes, and the queer humpy camels on which they rode looked white as milk in the snow-storm.

Vickers strapped to the humpy backs of a dozen camels, and the cases of ammunition riding high in the panniers.

A skin of ice clings to the twig ends of the smaller trees beside the house, and some humpy patches of dirty snow are cringing there in the gutter that runs down to the street alongside the narrow dirt drive.

They scarcely had returned When, just behind the magistrate, Another humpy burned!

During one whole day, the great humpy beasts with huge black horns moved over the rolling hills of the northern grassland in a thick, undulating carpet, and Ayla and Jondalar stopped often to watch.

The Cadi undoubtedly was more at home with reminiscences of nights at the Queensland Club and moonlight picnics at lovely Humpy Bong and champagne spreads in a Government launch than at dispensing law in the Carpentaria district.

An inch-worm, perhaps, would be a better description, for it travelled in the same humpy way as that pleasing reptile.