• synonyms


[hoo k-ee]
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  1. hooky1.
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or hook·ey

[hoo k-ee]
  1. unjustifiable absence from school, work, etc. (usually used in the phrase play hooky): On the first warm spring day the boys played hooky to go fishing.
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Origin of hooky1

1840–50, Americanism; perhaps alteration of phrase hook it escape, make off
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hookey

Historical Examples

  • But all this time I was sufferin like hookey with awful spasms of whoopin cough.

    Mr. Munchausen 

    John Kendrick Bangs

  • Hookey”—as the carp said, when he saw a worm at the end of a line.

  • What would we have done if she had been very tall and stout, and fierce-looking, with spectacles and a hookey nose?

    Grandmother Dear

    Mrs. Molesworth

  • “I noticed that most of the boys smiled when I said ‘hookey,’” ventured Uncle Ben, critically.

    The Blue Birds' Winter Nest

    Lillian Elizabeth Roy

  • You went to the same school; played "hookey" together; bathed in the creek together.

British Dictionary definitions for hookey



  1. informal, mainly US, Canadian and NZ truancy, usually from school (esp in the phrase play hooky)
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Word Origin

C20: perhaps from hook it to escape
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 hookey



also hookey, in the truant sense, 1848, American English (New York City), from Dutch hoekje "hide and seek;" or else from hook it, attested since 14c. as "make off, run away," originally "depart, proceed."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hookey


see play hooky.

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