[hoo vz, hoovz]


a plural of hoof.


[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.

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 hooves

Contemporary Examples of hooves

Historical Examples of hooves

  • The thudding of hooves became a mutter and then a rumble and then a growl.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Pan crossed his legs and his hooves clashed, striking sparks.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Then there came a low and muffled drumming, like the pounding of thousands of hooves.

    Space Prison

    Tom Godwin

  • Then she saw the book, knocked to one side by the unicorn's hooves.

    Space Prison

    Tom Godwin

  • Kate scrunched her hooves and got real balky, not likin' it a bit.

    Year of the Big Thaw

    Marion Zimmer Bradley

British Dictionary definitions for hooves



a plural of hoof


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 hooves



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