[hoo f, hoof]

noun, plural hoofs or hooves for 1, 2, 4; hoof for 3.

the horny covering protecting the ends of the digits or encasing the foot in certain animals, as the ox and horse.
the entire foot of a horse, donkey, etc.
Older Use. a hoofed animal, especially one of a herd.
Informal. the human foot.

verb (used with object)

Slang. to walk (often followed by it): Let's hoof it to the supermarket.

verb (used without object)

Slang. to dance, especially to tap-dance: He's been hoofing at the Palladium.

Idioms plural hoof.

    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. 2019

Examples from the Web for hoofing

Contemporary Examples of hoofing

  • There he was, hoofing it down a dusty road on his way to a local church.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Mel Gibson's Mandals

    Isabel Wilkinson

    August 5, 2010

Historical Examples of hoofing

  • Trust Gladys for hoofing her out of it in double quick time, he remarked.

    The Angel of Pain

    E. F. Benson

  • We shall be much happier ranching or hoofing it with the Lost Legion.

    John Brown

    Captain R. W. Campbell

  • Weve got a good thirty miles of hoofing it down the trail before well be anywhere near a place we can get horses.

  • Weve done better than twenty miles of hoofing it along this trail since sunup.

  • Henry wasn't with the car, at that moment, but was hoofing it into Ash Fork from the hills, glad to have his scalp with him.

    Motor Matt's Mystery

    Stanley R. Matthews

British Dictionary definitions for hoofing


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
the foot of an ungulate mammal
a hoofed animal
facetious a person's foot
on the hoof
  1. (of livestock) alive
  2. in an impromptu mannerhe did his thinking on the hoof


(tr) to kick or trample with the hoofs
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 hoofing



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