hanky panky


noun Informal.
unethical behavior; deceit: When the bank teller bought an expensive car and house, they suspected there might be some hanky-panky going on.
illicit sexual relations.
Also, hankey-pankey, hanky pank.

1835–45; rhyming compound; compare initial h, p of higgledy-piggledy, hocus-pocus, hodgepodge, etc.

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World English Dictionary
hanky-panky (ˈhæŋkɪˈpæŋkɪ)
1.  dubious or suspicious behaviour
2.  foolish behaviour or talk
3.  illicit sexual relations
[C19: variant of hocus-pocus]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1841, "trickery," Brit. slang, possibly a variant of hoky-poky "deception, fraud," altered from hocus-pocus.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

hanky-panky definition

  1. n.
    funny business; deceitfulness. : There's some hanky-panky going on in the treasurer's office.
  2. n.
    sexual play; sexual misconduct. (See also mifky-pifky (in the bushes).) : There's some hanky-panky going on in the storeroom.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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