hugger-mugger HUH-guhr-muh-guhr, noun:

1. A disorderly jumble; muddle; confusion.
2. Secrecy; concealment.

1. Confused; muddled; disorderly.
2. Secret.

1. In a muddle or confusion.
2. Secretly.

transitive verb:
1. To keep secret.

intransitive verb:
1. To act in a secretive manner.

While Ventura is speaking out — his wisdom seems to be a hugger-mugger of twisted cliches from his reading of airport trash picked up as he traveled from bout to bout — others who do possess minds too often are failing to speak theirs, and usually they do so only as a consequence of perceived electoral pragmatism.
— Jamie Dettmer, “Campaigning and the Media Circus”, Insight on the News, November 1, 1999

From here on in, it’s all about security clearances, undercover surveillance, computers, microphones hidden in coat buttons and so much technical hugger-mugger you’d have to be a hacker to decipher it.
— Rex Reed, “On The Town With Rex Reed”, New York Observer, February 3, 2003

I followed him to that hugger-mugger cabin he had hidden in the oaks on the other side of the swale and nipped behind the trees.
— Roy Parvin, The Loneliest Road in America

While we waited in the cab for a final passenger to appear (Nesher disapproves of empty seats), my new American friend, unhappy with the hugger-mugger tossing of his luggage, got out of the taxi and climbed into its rear to arrange things better.
— Edith Pearlman, “Neshering”, The Atlantic, December 1998

The charts fit into this upper compartment that they may be ready at hand on any pressing engagement and, below, safe from prying eyes, you may stow your books. Whether they be maritime, legal, religious, or consecrated to the delight of the senses, ’tis all one, they lie there together hugger-mugger.
— Ferdinand Mount, Jem (and Sam)

The origin of hugger-mugger is unknown; it is perhaps from Anglo-Irish cuggermugger, “a whispering, a low-voiced gossiping,” from Irish cogair!, “whisper!”

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