Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


or hankey-pankey, hanky pank

[hang-kee-pang-kee] /ˈhæŋ kiˈpæŋ ki/
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.
Origin of hanky-panky
1835-45; rhyming compound; compare initial h, p of higgledy-piggledy, hocus-pocus, hodgepodge, etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for hanky-panky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I tell you, there's more in that Eastern hanky-panky than meets the eye; beyond that I'll offer no opinion.

    Merry-Garden and Other Stories Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Another piece of hanky-panky frequently practised on the stage requires two performers.

    The Art of Amusing Frank Bellew
  • But there must be no hanky-panky, no sharp practice with caddies; every sponge must be put down by one of the players in person.

  • If you play any hanky-panky tricks—look here, Da Souza, I'll kill you, sure!

    A Millionaire of Yesterday E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • These scientists have worked miracles before which those of the ancient priests and magicians are mere tricks of hanky-panky.

    God and my Neighbour Robert Blatchford
  • Some hanky-panky with regimental money; every one knows how India plays the devil with a man's sense of right and wrong.

    Alone Norman Douglas
  • Oh, no, the Bedouins know the English Government won't allow any hanky-panky.

    Afterwards Kathlyn Rhodes
British Dictionary definitions for hanky-panky


noun (informal)
dubious or suspicious behaviour
foolish behaviour or talk
illicit sexual relations
Word Origin
C19: variant of hocus-pocus
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hanky-panky

also hanky panky, 1841, "trickery," British slang, possibly a variant of hoky-poky "deception, fraud," altered from hocus-pocus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for hanky-panky



Anything dishonest, deceptive, or unethical; esp, in recent use, sexual infidelity; monkey business: She seems just to be along for some hanky-panky with her pal, General Von Griem/ can be an assurance against clandestine wrongdoing and political hanky-panky (1841+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hanky-panky

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hanky

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for hanky-panky