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[hoist or, sometimes, hahyst] /hɔɪst or, sometimes, haɪst/
verb (used with object)
to raise or lift, especially by some mechanical appliance:
to hoist a flag; to hoist the mainsail.
to raise to one's lips and drink; drink (especially beer or whiskey) with gusto:
Let's go hoist a few beers.
Archaic. a simple past tense and past participle of hoise.
an apparatus for hoisting, as a block and tackle, a derrick, or a crane.
act of hoisting; a lift:
Give that sofa a hoist at your end.
  1. the vertical dimension amidships of any square sail that is hoisted with a yard.
    Compare drop (def 28).
  2. the distance between the hoisted and the lowered position of such a yard.
  3. the dimension of a fore-and-aft sail along the luff.
  4. a number of flags raised together as a signal.
  1. the vertical dimension as flown from a vertical staff.
  2. the edge running next to the staff.
    Compare fly1 (def 30b).
hoist by / with one's own petard. petard (def 4).
Origin of hoist
1540-50; later variant of hoise, with -t as in against, etc.
Related forms
hoister, noun
unhoisted, adjective
1. elevate. See raise.
1. lower. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hoister
Historical Examples
  • Nah he'd nivver tasted a hoister i' all his life, it wor summat new, soa he went up to th' chap an axt for one.

  • The order was given to the cook in an audible voice—Nice rumpsteak, hoister sauce, and tators, for one!

  • Tommy Finnegan was a little Irishman, with big staring eyes and a wild aspect, a "hoister" by trade, and badly cracked.

    The Jungle Upton Sinclair
  • While McCloskey was still prophesying failure, he was giving the word to Darby, the hoister engineer.

  • Far away in Illinois, a near relative of the painter and hoister of the "bear flag" is a struggling lawyer.

    The Little Lady of Lagunitas Richard Henry Savage
British Dictionary definitions for hoister


(transitive) to raise or lift up, esp by mechanical means
hoist with one's own petard, See petard (sense 2)
any apparatus or device for hoisting
the act of hoisting
  1. the amidships height of a sail bent to the yard with which it is hoisted Compare drop (sense 15)
  2. the difference between the set and lowered positions of this yard
(nautical) the length of the luff of a fore-and-aft sail
(nautical) a group of signal flags
the inner edge of a flag next to the staff Compare fly1 (sense 25)
Derived Forms
hoister, noun
Word Origin
C16: variant of hoise, probably from Low German; compare Dutch hijschen, German hissen
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
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Word Origin and History for hoister



1540s, "to raise," earlier hoise (c.1500), probably originally past tense of Middle English hysse (late 15c.), which is probably from Middle Dutch hyssen (Dutch hijsen) "to hoist," related to Low German hissen and Old Norse hissa upp "raise." A nautical word found in most European languages (e.g. French hisser, Italian issare, Spanish izar), but it is uncertain which had it first. Related: Hoisted; hoisting. In phrase hoist with one's own petard, it is the past participle.

For 'tis the sport, to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petar: and it shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.
["Hamlet," Act III, Scene iv]
Meaning "to lift and remove" was prevalent c.1550-1750. As a noun, 1650s, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hoister



A shoplifter (1847+)



: Crooks speak of a job of hold-up as a ''hoist''


  1. To rob; steal; heist: The stall distracts the sales force while the hoister hoists (1708+ Underworld)
  2. To drink some beer or liquor: Let's stop at Harry's and hoist a few (1940s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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