verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)



    not give/care a hoot, Informal. to not care at all: I don't give a hoot.Also not give/care two hoots.

Origin of hoot

1150–1200; Middle English hoten, huten, houten (verb); perhaps imitative
Related formshoot·ing·ly, adverbun·hoot·ed, adjective

Synonyms for hoot

1, 5. jeer, boo, hiss. 5. razz.



or hoots


interjection Scot. and North England.

(used as an expression of impatience, dissatisfaction, objection, or dislike.)

Origin of hoot

1675–85; compare Swedish hut, Welsh hwt, Irish ut begone!
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hoot

jeer, boo, whistle, hiss, heckle, scream, howl, scorn, razz, catcall

Examples from the Web for hoot

Contemporary Examples of hoot

Historical Examples of hoot

  • Anyway, we can tell in a minute or two, 'cause them owls are sure to hoot again.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • But I thought that there was a hoot of laughter in the high wail of the wind.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • It was between nine and ten o'clock that Jack heard the hoot of an owl.

    Oh, You Tex!

    William Macleod Raine

  • Take away the castles, and not even a German would give a hoot for it.

  • He grinned to himself, and just then the hoot of an owl sounded.

British Dictionary definitions for hoot




the mournful wavering cry of some owls
a similar sound, such as that of a train whistle
a jeer of derision
informal an amusing person or thingthe weekend was a hoot
not give a hoot not to care at all


(often foll by at) to jeer or yell (something) contemptuously (at someone)
(tr) to drive (political speakers, actors on stage, etc) off or away by hooting
(intr) to make a hoot
(intr) British to blow a horn

Word Origin for hoot

C13 hoten, of imitative origin



hoots (huːts)


an exclamation of impatience or dissatisfaction: a supposed Scotticism

Word Origin for hoot

C17: of unknown origin




Australian and NZ a slang word for money

Word Origin for hoot

from Māori utu price
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 hoot

"to call or shout in disapproval or scorn," c.1600, probably related to or from huten, "to shout, call out" (c.1200), probably ultimately imitative. First used of bird cries, especially that of the owl, mid-15c. Related: Hooted; hooting. As a noun from mid-15c. Meaning "a laugh, something funny" is first recorded 1942. Slang sense of "smallest amount or particle" (The hoot you don't give when you don't care) is from 1891.

"A dod blasted ole fool!" answered the captain, who, till now, had been merely an amused on-looker. "Ye know all this rumpus wont do nobuddy a hoot o' good--not a hoot." ["Alonge Traverse Shores," Traverse City, Michigan, 1891]

Hooter in the same sense is from 1839.

HOOTER. Probably a corruption of iota. Common in New York in such phrases as "I don't care a hooter for him." "This note ain't worth a hooter." [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1877]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hoot


see not give a damn (hoot).

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