Old English hof "hoof," from Proto-Germanic *hofaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian hof, Old Norse hofr, Danish hov, Dutch hoef, German Huf "hof"), from PIE *kop- "to beat, strike" (cf. Sanskrit saphah "hoof"). For spelling, see hood (n.1).
"to walk" (hoof it), first attested 1640s, from hoof (n.); slang meaning "to dance" is 1920, American English (implied in hoofer). Related: Hoofed; hoofing.
a cleft hoof as of neat cattle (Ex. 10:26; Ezek. 32:13); hence also of the horse, though not cloven (Isa. 5:28). The "parting of the hoof" is one of the distinctions between clean and unclean animals (Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:7).