a long-handled implement having a thin, flat blade usually set transversely, used to break up the surface of the ground, destroy weeds, etc.
any of various implements of similar form, as for mixing plaster or mortar.

verb (used with object), hoed, hoe·ing.

to dig, scrape, weed, cultivate, etc., with a hoe.

verb (used without object), hoed, hoe·ing.

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




Richard,1812–86, U.S. inventor and manufacturer of printing-press equipment.
his fatherRobert,1784–1833, U.S. manufacturer of printing presses.



or hoe


noun, plural hos, hoes, ho's. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.

a sexually promiscuous woman.
a prostitute; whore.
a woman.

Origin of ho

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for hoe

Contemporary Examples of hoe

  • I think that this is a very tough row to hoe, an a transformation that will take place over decades if it happens at all.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What's the Use of a PhD?

    Megan McArdle

    February 21, 2013

  • In a category called "About Cleveland" it reads: "im a hoe and I sleep with anybody and anything that has a DIKK."

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Texas Gang Rape Dividing a Town

    Christine Pelisek

    March 13, 2011

Historical Examples of hoe

British Dictionary definitions for hoe



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

to dig, scrape, weed, or till (surface soil) with or as if with a hoe
Derived Formshoer, nounhoelike, adjective

Word Origin for hoe

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




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

Word Origin for ho

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




US Black slang a derogatory term for a woman

Word Origin for ho

C20: from Black or Southern US pronunciation of whore


the chemical symbol for




abbreviation for

head office
British government Home Office
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 hoe

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.



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

hoe in Medicine


The symbol for the elementholmium
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

hoe in Science


The symbol for holmium.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with hoe


see tough row to hoe.

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