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[hoo f, hoof] /hʊf, huf/

noun, plural hoofs or hooves for 1, 2, 4; hoof for 3.
the horny covering protecting the ends of the digits or encasing the foot in certain animals, as the ox and horse.
the entire foot of a horse, donkey, etc.
Older Use. a animal, especially one of a herd.
Informal. the human foot.
verb (used with object)
Slang. to walk (often followed by it):
Let’s hoof it to the supermarket.
verb (used without object)
Slang. to dance, especially to tap-dance:
He’s been hoofing at the Palladium.
Idioms, plural hoof.
on the hoof, (of livestock) not butchered; live:
The city youngsters were seeing lambs on the hoof for the first time.
noun (pl) hooves (huːvz), hoofs

the foot of an ungulate mammal
a hoofed animal
(facetious) a person’s foot
on the hoof

(transitive) to kick or trample with the hoofs
(slang) hoof it


Old English hof “hoof,” from Proto-Germanic *hofaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian hof, Old Norse hofr, Danish hov, Dutch hoef, German Huf “hof”), from PIE *kop- “to beat, strike” (cf. Sanskrit saphah “hoof”). For spelling, see hood (n.1).

“to walk” (hoof it), first attested 1640s, from hoof (n.); slang meaning “to dance” is 1920, American English (implied in hoofer). Related: Hoofed; hoofing.


A foot: Take your goddam hoof the hell off my fender (1598+)


Related Terms

shake a wicked calf

a cleft hoof as of neat cattle (Ex. 10:26; Ezek. 32:13); hence also of the horse, though not cloven (Isa. 5:28). The “parting of the hoof” is one of the distinctions between clean and unclean animals (Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:7).


Read Also:

  • Hoof-in-mouth disease

    noun phrase A tendency to speech before thought; the habit of opening one’s ”big fat mouth”: Among the most notable practitioners of hoofin-mouth disease in the past year [1960s+; fr put one’s foot in it with a pun on the hoof-and-mouth disease of farm animals, so designated by 1887]

  • Hoofprint

    [hoo f-print, hoof-] /ˈhʊfˌprɪnt, ˈhuf-/ noun 1. the impression made by an animal’s .

  • Hooft

    /Dutch hoːft/ noun 1. Pieter Corneliszoon (ˈpiːtər kɔrˈnɛːlisoːn). 1581–1647, Dutch poet, historian, and writer: noted esp for his love poetry and his 27-volume History of the Netherlands (1626–47)

  • Hoogh

    [Dutch hohkh] /Dutch hoʊx/ noun 1. Pieter de [Dutch pee-ter duh] /Dutch ˈpi tər də/ (Show IPA), . /Dutch hoːx/ noun 1. See (Pieter de) Hooch

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