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or hookey

[hoo k-ee] /ˈhʊk i/
unjustifiable absence from school, work, etc. (usually used in the phrase play hooky):
On the first warm spring day the boys played hooky to go fishing.
Origin of hooky1
1840-50, Americanism; perhaps alteration of phrase hook it escape, make off


[hoo k-ee] /ˈhʊk i/
adjective, hookier, hookiest.
full of hooks.
First recorded in 1545-55; hook1 + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hooky
Contemporary Examples
  • hooky indicates an inability to create stories that take place in and around school and, therefore, a dearth of inspiration.

Historical Examples
  • He sat there stunned until hooky began licking at his scuffed fingers.

    The Hoofer Walter M. Miller
  • Or your hooky neck, or your two knees is black with knocking one on the other?

  • He invented a kind of home-study "hooky" to break the monotony.

    The Fourth R George Oliver Smith
  • My mother was well on to fifty when I gave her that chop, and she got her hooky finger for life.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost

    William Frend De Morgan
  • Then there were atoms with rough surfaces, "hooky" surfaces, and these stuck together and formed solids.

  • Nothing but a few words from a mutt who must have spent most of his time playin' hooky when he went to school.

    Motor Matt's Race Stanley R. Matthews
  • I was overflowing with spirits and arrogance, and began to play "hooky" so often that I practically quit school about this time.

    The Autobiography of a Thief Hutchins Hapgood
  • His coal-black, glossy hair commanded and obtained her admiration, and she found his hooky nose to be handsome.

    The Eustace Diamonds

    Anthony Trollope
  • Is seated straddling across one of the tables, on which he is beating time to the band with a hooky stick.

British Dictionary definitions for hooky


(informal, mainly US & Canadian, NZ) truancy, usually from school (esp in the phrase play hooky)
Word Origin
C20: perhaps from hook it to escape
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 hooky

also hookey, in the truant sense, 1848, American English (New York City), from Dutch hoekje "hide and seek;" or else from hook it, attested since 14c. as "make off, run away," originally "depart, proceed."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hooky



Captivating; very attractive; catchy: It's also more insinuatingly hooky than Led Zep ever was/ After the first few merely hooky tracks (1930s+)


play hooky (1950s+)

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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Idioms and Phrases with hooky


see: play hooky
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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