[hoo f, hoof]
See more synonyms for hoof on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural hoofs or hooves for 1, 2, 4; hoof for 3.
  1. the horny covering protecting the ends of the digits or encasing the foot in certain animals, as the ox and horse.
  2. the entire foot of a horse, donkey, etc.
  3. Older Use. a hoofed animal, especially one of a herd.
  4. Informal. the human foot.
verb (used with object)
  1. Slang. to walk (often followed by it): Let's hoof it to the supermarket.
verb (used without object)
  1. Slang. to dance, especially to tap-dance: He's been hoofing at the Palladium.
Idioms plural hoof.
  1. on the hoof, (of livestock) not butchered; live: The city youngsters were seeing lambs on the hoof for the first time.

Origin of hoof

before 1000; Middle English (noun); Old English hōf; cognate with Old Frisian hōf, Dutch hoef, German Huf, Old Norse hōfr; compare Sanskrit śaphas
Related formshoof·i·ness, nounhoof·less, adjectivehoof·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for hoof it


noun plural hooves (huːvz) or hoofs
    1. the horny covering of the end of the foot in the horse, deer, and all other ungulate mammals
    2. (in combination)a hoofbeat Related adjective: ungular
  1. the foot of an ungulate mammal
  2. a hoofed animal
  3. facetious a person's foot
  4. on the hoof
    1. (of livestock) alive
    2. in an impromptu mannerhe did his thinking on the hoof
  1. (tr) to kick or trample with the hoofs
  2. hoof it slang
    1. to walk
    2. to dance
Derived Formshoofless, adjectivehooflike, adjective

Word Origin for hoof

Old English hōf; related to Old Norse hōfr, Old High German huof (German Huf), Sanskrit saphás
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 hoof it



Old English hof "hoof," from Proto-Germanic *hofaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian hof, Old Norse hofr, Danish hov, Dutch hoef, German Huf "hof"), from PIE *kop- "to beat, strike" (cf. Sanskrit saphah "hoof"). For spelling, see hood (n.1).



"to walk" (hoof it), first attested 1640s, from hoof (n.); slang meaning "to dance" is 1920, American English (implied in hoofer). Related: Hoofed; hoofing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hoof it

hoof it


Go on foot, as in The car's being repaired—we'll have to hoof it. [First half of 1600s]


Dance, as in He was always a good dancer, and he's still able to hoof it. [Slang; 1920s]

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