hanky-panky

or han·key-pan·key

[ 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 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

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British Dictionary definitions for hanky-panky

hanky-panky

/ (ˈhæŋkɪˈpæŋkɪ) /

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

hanky-panky


n.

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