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after an isolated reference from Ireland dated 1527 ("The horlinge of the litill balle with hockie stickes or staves ..."), the word is next recorded 1838 from W. Sussex; of unknown origin, perhaps related to Middle French hoquet "shepherd's staff, crook," diminutive of Old French hoc "hook." The hooked clubs with which the game is played resemble shepherds' staves. In North America, ice hockey is distinguished from field hockey.
[1923+; origin unknown; perhaps fr a variant pronunciation of the hokum, hokey, hocus-pocus cluster, suggested by some spellings, and hence originally ''falsehood, pretentious exaggeration, etc,'' whence ''bullshit,'' whence ''shit'';]