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Drawings of petroglpyhs from the Tagar Culture, 1st millennium BC in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia.
Huts and a larger building in the form of burial urns at the museum at the Baths of Diocletian in Rome, Italy. Image: Sailko
Chozo in Extremadura, Spain.

A hut is a primitive dwelling, which may be constructed of various local materials. Huts are a type of vernacular architecture because they are built of readily available materials such as wood, snow, ice, stone, grass, palm leaves, branches, hides, fabric, and/or mud using techniques passed down through the generations.

A hut is a shape of a lower quality than a house (durable, well built dwelling) but higher quality than a shelter (place of refuge or safety) such as a tent and is used as temporary or seasonal shelter or in primitive societies as a permanent dwelling.[1]

Huts exist in practically all nomadic cultures. Some huts are transportable and can stand most conditions of weather.

Pine cone hut in the Yatsugatake Mountains, Japan


The term is often misappropriated by people who imagine non-western style homes in (sub)tropical areas as crude or primitive, when in fact the designs are based on local craftsmanship, often using sophisticated architectural techniques. The designs in (sub)tropical areas favor high airflow configurations built from non-conducting materials, which allow heat dissipation. In this case, the term house or home is more appropriate.

In the Western world the word hut is often used for a wooden shed.

The term has also been adopted by climbers and backpackers to refer to a more solid and permanent structure offering refuge. These vary from simple bothies – which are little more than very basic shelters – to mountain huts that are far more luxurious and can even include facilities such as restaurants.

The word comes from the 1650s, from French hutte "cottage" (16c.), from Middle High German hütte "cottage, hut," probably from Proto-Germanic *hudjon-, related to the root of Old English hydan "to hide," from PIE *keudh-, from root (s)keu- (see hide (n.1)). Apparently first in English as a military word. Old Saxon hutta, Danish hytte, Swedish hytta, Frisian and Middle Dutch hutte, Dutch hut are from High German."[2] related to hide, a covering.

Modern use

Hut in farm outside Indian village

Huts are used by shepherds when moving livestock between seasonal grazing areas such as mountainous and lowland pastures (transhumance).

They are also commonly used by backpackers and other travelers in rural areas.

Some displaced populations of people use huts throughout the world during a diaspora. For example, temporary collectors in the wilderness agricultural workers at plantations in the Amazon jungle.

Huts have been built for purposes other than as a dwelling such as storage, workshops, and teaching.


  • Barabara – An earth sheltered winter home of the Aleut people
  • Barracks – an old term for a temporary hut,[1] now more used as a term for military housing and a unique hay storage structure called a hay barrack.
  • Bothy – Originally a one room hut for men farm workers in the United Kingdom, now a mountain hut for overnight hikers.
  • Burdei or bordei – a dugout or pit-house with a sod roof in Ukraine, Canada
  • Cabana – an open shelter
  • Chozo also spelled chozo – Spanish for hut, term also used in Mexico.
  • Clochán – A dry stone hut in Ireland
  • Earth lodge – Native American dwelling
  • Hytte – A cabin or hut in Norway
  • Igloo – A hut made of pieces of hard snow or ice
  • Kolba – Afghanistan
  • Lodge is a general term for a hut or cabin such as a log cabin or cottage. Lodge is used to refer to a tipi, sweat lodge, and hunting, fishing, skiing, and safari lodge.
  • Mitato – A small, dry stone hut in Greece
  • Orri – A French dry stone and sod hut
  • Rondavel – Central and South Africa
  • Sheiling – Originally a temporary shelter or hut for shepherds, now may be a stone building. Common in Scotland.
  • Sod house – A pioneer house type on the American Plains where wood was scarce.
  • Tipi – Central North America tent
  • Tule hut – Coastal North America, West Coast, Northern California
  • Quinzhee – A shelter made in a pile of snow
  • Yurt – Central and North Asia


Mud walls standing in an empty area.  The smooth surface is flaking off to show the interior of the walls.
Remains of a mud hut, with interior layers exposed. This hut was destroyed during a major earthquake.

Many huts are designed to be relatively quick and inexpensive to build. Construction often does not require specialized tools or knowledge.

Marketing usage

Hut is used to name commercial stores, companies, and concepts. The name implies a small, casual venue, often with a fun and friendly atmosphere. Examples include Pizza Hut and Sunglass Hut. Kiosks may be constructed to look like huts and are often found at parks, malls, beaches, or other public places, selling a variety of inexpensive food or goods. Luxury hotels in tropical areas where guests are assigned to occupy their own freestanding structure sometimes call the structure a "hut", though such huts typically bear little more than superficial resemblance to the traditional concept of a hut.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009
  2. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2015-03-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>