Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: hoof
Pronunciation: /ho͞of
, ho͝of

Definition of hoof in English:

noun (plural hoofs or hooves /ho͝ovz, ho͞ovz/)

The horny part of the foot of an ungulate animal, especially a horse: there was a clatter of hoofs as a rider came up to them
More example sentences
  • With their teeth, hooves, horns and dung, wildebeest have literally cultivated the grasslands.
  • I closed my eyes, the horses hooves and the rocking of the carriage almost lulling me to sleep.
  • She heard the clopping of horse hooves but she didn't know where it was coming from.


[with object] informal Back to top  
1 (hoof it) Go on foot: it was awfully hot, but we hoofed it all the way back
More example sentences
  • If you are required to keep your cart on the path, you can end up walking farther than you would have if you hoofed it.
  • Why go with a guide instead of hoofing it on your own?
  • The bus wheezed up the road to the village of Naggar, where we disembarked, hoisted our packs, and started hoofing it.
1.1Dance: we hoof it reasonably fancily, and no one guffaws
More example sentences
  • Fred's a smart alec sailor who bumps into his old flame while on shore leave, and it's not long before they're hoofing it to ‘Let Yourself Go’ and ‘Dance’.
  • But, no, he really does run a dance club, and Maria is soon hoofing it in Geneva.
  • Certainly it's nothing new to see older dancers still hoofing it.


Old English hōf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoef and German Huf.


on the hoof

1(Of livestock) not yet slaughtered.
Example sentences
  • He said livestock was judged on the hoof at the show and subsequently slaughtered at the East London abattoir.
  • This all seemed to work well, but as well as this, according to the regulations, you must have a vet to first inspect all slaughter animals on the hoof - thus adding to the expense.
  • It is also used by a number of exporters in the Irish livestock industry who ship cattle on the hoof to Lebanon, Egypt and Europe.
2 informal Without great thought or preparation: policy was made on the hoof
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately they look set to continue the trend of setting parking policy on the hoof, in response to short-term financial pressures rather than in accordance with a long-term vision.
  • But too often, he appears to be making up crime policy on the hoof, like his decision today to release hundreds of criminals early because the prisons are full.
  • Are we about to witness more policy made on the hoof, or is this merely evidence they are struggling to defend the indefensible against valid widespread public protest?



Example sentences
  • If they're lucky, the couple will catch sight of the mousedeer, which is the world's smallest hoofed animal and features in local folklore.
  • Foot-and-mouth is a highly contagious viral disease which causes blisters and fever in hoofed animals.
  • Lions prey mostly on hoofed animals, although they occasionally consume fallen fruit.

Definition of hoof in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?