An American expression meaning to hide, hide out, or take shelter, dates from the late 18th century. The OED gives an obsolete meaning for ‘hunker’, namely a conservative or someone who clings stubbornly to old-fashioned beliefs, dating from the mid-19th century and also American. The etymology of ‘hunker’ is interesting. It derives from Scottish dialect ‘to hunker’ meaning to squat down on one’s haunches. In fact, ‘on one’s hunkers’ means ‘on one’s haunches’, and dates in Scottish dialect from the late 18th century. Some sources say that ‘hunker’ could be a corruption ‘haunch’ but this is not proven. Hunker down was revived in the US Southern States during the 1960s, taking on the specific meaning of preparing for and taking precautions against storms and hurricanes.