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  1. (used as a call to attract attention, sometimes specially used after a word denoting a destination): Westward ho! Land ho!
  2. (used as an exclamation of surprise or delight.)

Origin of ho1

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300


  1. (used as a command to a horse to stop.)

Origin of ho2

1300–50; Middle English < Old French. See whoa


or hoe

noun, plural hos, hoes, ho's. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a sexually promiscuous woman.
  2. a prostitute; whore.
  3. a woman.

Origin of ho3

First recorded in 1965–70; dialectal or Black English pronunciation of whore


Symbol, Chemistry.
  1. holmium.


  1. (in police use) habitual offender.


  1. house.


  1. Head Office; Home Office.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ho

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The night now was very dark, "with hey, ho, the wind and the rain!"

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • It isn't only what Baumberger thinks—I don't know as ho's got anything to say about it—it's what I think.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • If he had not said please he should have ho'd and hullo'd in vain, but at that word I turned.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Ho Sian Gu has a spoon, usually formed in the shape of a lotus-flower.

  • Ho what a cutting thing it is, and yet what sweet sensations is awoke within me!'

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for ho


  1. Also: ho-ho an imitation or representation of the sound of a deep laugh
  2. an exclamation used to attract attention, announce a destination, etcwhat ho!; land ho!; westward ho!

Word Origin

C13: of imitative origin; compare Old Norse hó, Old French ho! halt!


  1. US Black slang a derogatory term for a woman

Word Origin

C20: from Black or Southern US pronunciation of whore


the chemical symbol for
  1. holmium



abbreviation for
  1. head office
  2. British government Home Office


abbreviation for
  1. house
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 ho


exclamation of surprise, etc., c.1300; as an exclamation calling attention or demanding silence, late 14c. Used after the name of a place to which attention is called (cf. Westward-Ho) it dates from 1590s, originally a cry of boatmen, etc., announcing departures for a particular destination. Ho-ho-ho expressing laughter is recorded from mid-12c.


by 1999, American English slang, representing a ghetto pronunciation of whore.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ho in Medicine


  1. The symbol for the elementholmium

ho in Science


  1. The symbol for holmium.


  1. A soft, silvery, malleable metallic element of the lanthanide series. Its compounds are highly magnetic. It is mainly used in scientific research but has also been used to make electronic devices. Atomic number 67; atomic weight 164.930; melting point 1,461°C; boiling point 2,600°C; specific gravity 8.803; valence 3. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.