- unethical behavior; deceit: When the bank teller bought an expensive car and house, they suspected there might be some hanky-panky going on.
- illicit sexual relations.
Also han·ky pank.
Origin of hanky-panky
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- dubious or suspicious behaviour
- foolish behaviour or talk
- illicit sexual relations
C19: variant of hocus-pocus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for hanky-pank
also hanky panky, 1841, "trickery," British slang, possibly a variant of hoky-poky "deception, fraud," altered from hocus-pocus.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper