I was wondering which choice is the common way to say that in everyday English speech:

I've been breastfeeding for almost 11 months now and my posture (which used to be great) is awful. I am always hunched and feel like I'm.................! It's totally noticeable. My husband and I both notice it.

a. getting a hunchback.
b. developing a hunchback.

I think they both are used and mean exactly the same thing. The only thing that comes to mind is that "developing" version sounds much more formal (perhaps technical) term.

2 Answers 2


I think that "Developing a hunchback" is the right answer. I don't think "getting a hunchback" is idiomatically correct.

When I googled the phrase "Getting a hunchback," the only thing I could find with the world "get" and "Hunchback" together was this video which had in its description the phrase "get rid of a hunchback," which is the opposite usage of what you are looking for.

On the other hand, I found a scientific article that uses the phrase "hunchback development," which is almost exactly what you were looking for. Link to the article

I think developed a hunchback is more appropriate because it references the gradual and progressive nature of the process, rather than "get" which implies instantaneous action.

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to ELL! This is a good answer backed by research and evidence.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 2:29
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    Welcome to the page and thank you for taking the time to help me Ravi, however please have a look on the following link: google.com/…
    – A-friend
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 8:35

"Hunchback" can refer to both the condition of a bent back, and the person who has that condition.

While it would be insulting to use it as a noun to mean another person, you could use it to describe yourself. So an alternative is

... becoming a hunchback...

If I were using "getting" or "developing", I think I'd actually say "getting a hunched back" or "developing a hunched back". Medical terms like "Scoliosis" (perhaps used incorrectly) are becoming more common as people try to avoid the "Hunchback or Notre Dame" associations of "hunchback".

  • But how about my own offers @James K? It's not clear of "developing" or "getting" hunchback work in this sense yet. In addition, don't you think that "hunch" stand-alone works better that "hunchback" referring to the condition of a bent back and reserve the noun "hunchback" for a who has the condition?
    – A-friend
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 8:29
  • Thank you for the improvement James. Then may I ask you how would you use the technical term scoliosis verbally? For instance, can we say: "I'm getting / developing scoliosis"?
    – A-friend
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 8:43
  • Also @James K, I have no idea what is wrong with "getting / developing hunchback" and not "hunched back"! Is it a matter of usage frequency or idiomatic English or what?
    – A-friend
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 8:59
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    Developing would work better with the technical term scoliosis. I say "used incorrectly" because a hunch is actually a kyphosis, but that term is much rarer outside of medical literature. (Scoliosis is actually a sideways bend, not a forwards bend in the spine)
    – James K
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 8:59
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    The problem with "hunchback" is that it tends to mean "the little man ringing bells in Notre Dame", or "Bad King Richard III" rather than the condition.
    – James K
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 9:01

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