hoof it


[hoof, hoof]
noun, plural hoofs or hooves for 1, 2, 4; hoof for 3.
the horny covering protecting the ends of the digits or encasing the foot in certain animals, as the ox and horse. See diag. under horse.
the entire foot of a horse, donkey, etc.
Older Use. a hoofed animal, especially one of a herd.
Informal. the human foot.
verb (used with object)
Slang. to walk (often followed by it ): Let's hoof it to the supermarket.
verb (used without object)
Slang. to dance, especially to tap-dance: He's been hoofing at the Palladium.
Idioms, plural hoof.
on the hoof, (of livestock) not butchered; live: The city youngsters were seeing lambs on the hoof for the first time.

before 1000; Middle English (noun); Old English hōf; cognate with Old Frisian hōf, Dutch hoef, German Huf, Old Norse hōfr; compare Sanskrit śaphas

hoofiness, noun
hoofless, adjective
hooflike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hoof (huːf)
n , pl hooves, hoofs
1.  a.  the horny covering of the end of the foot in the horse, deer, and all other ungulate mammals
 b.  (in combination): a hoofbeat Related: ungular
2.  the foot of an ungulate mammal
3.  a hoofed animal
4.  facetious a person's foot
5.  on the hoof
 a.  (of livestock) alive
 b.  in an impromptu manner: he did his thinking on the hoof
6.  (tr) to kick or trample with the hoofs
7.  slang hoof it
 a.  to walk
 b.  to dance
Related: ungular
[Old English hōf; related to Old Norse hōfr, Old High German huof (German Huf), Sanskrit saphás]

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

O.E. hof, from P.Gmc. *khofaz (cf. O.Fris. hof, Dan. hov, Du. hoef, Ger. Huf "hof"), from PIE *kopos (cf. Skt. saphah "hoof"). For spelling, see hood. Sense of "to walk" (hoof it) is first attested 1641; "to dance" is 1921 Amer.Eng. (in hoofer).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Hoof definition

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).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

hoof it

  1. Go on foot, as in The car's being repairedwe'll have to hoof it. [First half of 1600s]

  2. Dance, as in He was always a good dancer, and he's still able to hoof it. [Slang; 1920s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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