The term Hun, Old English Hunas (plural), refers to a tribe of peoples from central Asia that overran Europe in the 4th and 5th Century AD; the pre-medieval Hunnic Empire of Attila. The word derives from Medieval Latin Hunni, and from Turkic Hun-yü, the name of a tribe. In 1806 the term was used as a figurative sense to mean "reckless destroyer of beauty." In the 20th Century it was applied with derogative undertones to the German peoples during the First World War by their enemies resulting from the propaganda, stories and, ultimately, associated atrocities. Prior to this, the nickname was originally urged on German soldiers bound for China by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900, which caused a scandal.
References / notes
- Hun Online Etymology Dictionary. Accessed 20 April, 2017.
Glossary of terms and customs
This page forms part of our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain during the Great War, which also includes: technicalities, trench slang, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, sobriquets, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. Please feel free to help expand and improve this content.
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