hanky-panky

noun

han·​ky-pan·​ky ˌhaŋ-kē-ˈpaŋ-kē How to pronounce hanky-panky (audio)
1
informal : sexual activity especially when regarded as somewhat improper
We thought there was some hanky-panky going on between them.
… if there was hanky-panky in the office, it was entirely discreet … Jonathan Galassi
Today's Judeo-Christian culture has not shed this propensity to cheat. (If there weren't any hanky-panky, we wouldn't need the seventh commandment.) Daniel Engber
2
informal : questionable or underhanded activity
warned them not to try any hanky-panky
financial/political hanky-panky

Word History

Etymology

origin unknown

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of hanky-panky was in 1841

Dictionary Entries Near hanky-panky

Cite this Entry

“Hanky-panky.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hanky-panky. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

hanky-panky

noun

han·​ky-pan·​ky
ˌhaŋ-kē-ˈpaŋ-kē
: questionable or sneaky activity : trickery
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