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or hankey-pankey

[hang-kee-pang-kee] /ˈhæŋ kiˈpæŋ ki/
noun, Informal.
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, hanky pank.
Origin of hanky-panky
1835-45; rhyming compound; compare initial h, p of higgledy-piggledy, hocus-pocus, hodgepodge, etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hanky-panky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If there was any hanky-panky, I couldn't see how he planned to work it.

    Card Trick Walter Bupp AKA Randall Garrett
  • Another piece of hanky-panky frequently practised on the stage requires two performers.

    The Art of Amusing Frank Bellew
  • I tell you, there's more in that Eastern hanky-panky than meets the eye; beyond that I'll offer no opinion.

    Merry-Garden and Other Stories

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • If you play any hanky-panky tricks—look here, Da Souza, I'll kill you, sure!

    A Millionaire of Yesterday E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Some hanky-panky with regimental money; every one knows how India plays the devil with a man's sense of right and wrong.

    Alone Norman Douglas
  • Oh, no, the Bedouins know the English Government won't allow any hanky-panky.

    Afterwards Kathlyn Rhodes
  • Did he sing anything about somebody's bein' his darlin' hanky-panky and wearin' a number two?

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for hanky-panky


noun (informal)
dubious or suspicious behaviour
foolish behaviour or talk
illicit sexual relations
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for hanky-panky

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
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Slang definitions & phrases for hanky-panky



Anything dishonest, deceptive, or unethical; esp, in recent use, sexual infidelity; monkey business: She seems just to be along for some hanky-panky with her pal, General Von Griem/ can be an assurance against clandestine wrongdoing and political hanky-panky (1841+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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