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mid-14c., from Old French houe (12c.), from Frankish *hauwa, from Proto-Germanic *hawwan (cf. Old High German houwa "hoe, mattock, pick-axe," German Haue), from PIE *kau- "to hew, strike" (see hew). The verb is first recorded early 15c. Related: Hoed; hoeing.
one of the oldest tools of agriculture, a digging implement consisting of a blade set at right angles to a long handle. The blade of the modern hoe is metal and the handle of wood; earlier versions, including the picklike mattock, had stone or wooden blades; the digging stick, precursor of most modern agricultural handtools, was simply a sharpened branch sometimes weighted with a stone. Hoes have largely been replaced in agriculture by plows and harrows but are still commonly used in gardening and horticulture to loosen dirt and to chop weeds. The modern rotary hoe is a sophisticated tool that hoes many rows of a field simultaneously.