or hook·ey

[hoo k-ee]


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.

Origin of hooky

1840–50, Americanism; perhaps alteration of phrase hook it escape, make off


[hoo k-ee]

adjective, hook·i·er, hook·i·est.

full of hooks.

Origin of hooky

First recorded in 1545–55; hook1 + -y1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hooky

Contemporary Examples of hooky

  • Hooky indicates an inability to create stories that take place in and around school and, therefore, a dearth of inspiration.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Gossip Girl Deathwatch

    Caitlin Shure

    February 6, 2009

Historical Examples of hooky

  • He sat there stunned until Hooky began licking at his scuffed fingers.

    The Hoofer

    Walter M. Miller

  • Or your hooky neck, or your two knees is black with knocking one on the other?

  • He invented a kind of home-study "hooky" to break the monotony.

    The Fourth R

    George Oliver Smith

  • My mother was well on to fifty when I gave her that chop, and she got her hooky finger for life.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost

    William Frend De Morgan

  • Then there were atoms with rough surfaces, "hooky" surfaces, and these stuck together and formed solids.

British Dictionary definitions for hooky




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

Word Origin for hooky

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 hooky

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hooky


see play hooky.

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