noun, plural hoofs or hooves for 1, 2, 4; hoof for 3.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- hoof it,
- hoof-and-mouth disease,
Idioms plural hoof.
Origin of hoof
noun plural hooves (huːvz) or hoofs
- the horny covering of the end of the foot in the horse, deer, and all other ungulate mammals
- (in combination)a hoofbeat Related adjective: ungular
- (of livestock) alive
- in an impromptu mannerhe did his thinking on the hoof
- to walk
- to dance
Word Origin for hoof
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.
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]