ca·​hoot kə-ˈhüt How to pronounce cahoot (audio)
plural cahoots
: partnership, league
usually used in plural
usually used in phrases like in cahoots to describe people or groups working together or making plans together in secret
… shadowy characters in cahoots who work their secret ends until they are flushed out by intrepid reporting.Garrison Keillor
… fraud can be nearly impossible to detect whenever two law firm insiders are in cahootsRorie Sherman
… a formidable American beauty who is in cahoots with the C.I.A.Patrick Anderson
Friends of the terminally ill jeweler are ready to see him go to Ireland. They got into cahoots, as he puts it, to fund a 'Send Dick to Ireland' trip with a weekend yard sale …Andrea Brown
When his wife leaves for a visit with her mother, a young man is thrust into cahoots with gangsters …VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever

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Cahoot is used almost exclusively in the phrase "in cahoots," which means "in an alliance or partnership." In most contexts, it describes the conspiring activity of people up to no good. (There's also the rare idiom go cahoots, meaning "to enter into a partnership," as in "they went cahoots on a new restaurant.") "Cahoot" may derive from French cahute, meaning "cabin" or "hut," suggesting the notion of two or more people hidden away working together in secret. "Cahute" is believed to have been formed through the combination of two other words for cabins and huts, "cabane" and "hutte."

Examples of cahoot in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That Bovary is urged on to exceed the ambit of his modest competence by his vain and snobbish wife, Emma—in cahoots with the publicity-seeking pharmacist—adds a layer of situational irony to what constitutes, prima facie, an abuse: Charles incised the skin. Will Self, Harper's Magazine, 12 Sep. 2022 Erdogan, meanwhile, lambasted Kilicdaroglu as a quisling who is in cahoots with the West and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a Kurdish separatist group that both Ankara and Washington consider a terrorist entity. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2023 The end of the movie offers a doozy of a shocker: Ray and Sam have actually been in cahoots the entire time. Emlyn Travis,, 18 Mar. 2023 Related:Abbott says Biden in cahoots with cartels, White House says Texas border force adds chaos The legislation proposal still grants more power and responsibility over border operations to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has made border security a top issue over recent years. Aarón Torres, Dallas News, 10 May 2023 Some of the holdouts took the developer to court, claiming that the earthquake test was bogus and that the company was in cahoots with some of their neighbors. Hannah Lucinda Smith, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2023 For example, Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources as saying that Teck’s largest B shareholder, China Investment Corp., was working in cahoots with Glencore when in reality the CIC had refused to even meet with Glencore’s team, as reported by the Globe & Mail’s Niall McGee. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 20 Apr. 2023 Nation/World The Disney World oversight board installed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accused its predecessor of passing an 11th-hour agreement in cahoots with the entertainment giant that takes away much of its administrative power over the Florida amusement park. Bryan Pietsch, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Mar. 2023 Raimi made the first three Evil Dead movies in cahoots with producer Robert Tapert and actor Bruce Campbell, who portrayed the initial trilogy's idiot-hero Ash. Clark Collis,, 15 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cahoot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


perhaps from French cahute cabin, hut

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cahoot was in 1827


Dictionary Entries Near cahoot

Cite this Entry

“Cahoot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: partnership
usually used in plural in the phrase in cahoots
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