or han·key-pan·key


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.

Nearby words

  1. hankeringly,
  2. hankou,
  3. hankow,
  4. hanks,
  5. hanky,
  6. hanna,
  7. hanna, marcus alonzo,
  8. hannah,
  9. hannibal,
  10. hanno

Also han·ky pank.

Origin of hanky-panky

1835–45; rhyming compound; compare initial h, p of higgledy-piggledy, hocus-pocus, hodgepodge, etc.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hanky-panky

British Dictionary definitions for hanky-panky


noun informal

dubious or suspicious behaviour
foolish behaviour or talk
illicit sexual relations

Word Origin for hanky-panky

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-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