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  1. a long-handled implement having a thin, flat blade usually set transversely, used to break up the surface of the ground, destroy weeds, etc.
  2. any of various implements of similar form, as for mixing plaster or mortar.
verb (used with object), hoed, hoe·ing.
  1. to dig, scrape, weed, cultivate, etc., with a hoe.
verb (used without object), hoed, hoe·ing.
  1. to use a hoe.

Origin of hoe

1325–75; Middle English howe < Old French houe < Germanic; compare Middle Dutch houwe, Old High German houwa mattock; akin to hew
Related formsho·er, nounhoe·like, adjectiveun·hoed, adjective


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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hoes

Historical Examples

  • Hoes, rakes, and claw-hand weeders should be used in cleaning up and cultivating the plots.

    Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study

    Ontario Ministry of Education

  • Hoes of various types are useful when the plants become somewhat larger or when one does not have the wheel cultivators.

  • Hoes and shovels were flat bones fastened to wooden handles, and brooms were bunches of brush bound together.

  • Hoes should be of several patterns if the most efficient work is to be done in the garden.

  • Hoes and rakes are also used, but the angle of the handle is much too acute.

British Dictionary definitions for hoes


  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


  1. any of several kinds of long-handled hand implement equipped with a light blade and used to till the soil, eradicate weeds, etc
verb hoes, hoeing or hoed
  1. to dig, scrape, weed, or till (surface soil) with or as if with a hoe
Derived Formshoer, nounhoelike, adjective

Word Origin

C14: via Old French houe from Germanic: compare Old High German houwā, houwan to hew, German Haue hoe
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 hoes



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.



mid-14c., from Old French houe (12c.), from Frankish *hauwa, from Proto-Germanic *hawwan (cf. Old High German houwa "hoe, mattock, pick-axe," German Haue), from PIE *kau- "to hew, strike" (see hew). The verb is first recorded early 15c. Related: Hoed; hoeing.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hoes in Medicine


  1. The symbol for the elementholmium

hoes in Science


  1. The symbol for holmium.

Idioms and Phrases with hoes


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.