\ ˈhō How to pronounce hoe (audio) \

Definition of hoe

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : any of various implements for tilling, mixing, or raking especially : a tool with a thin flat blade on a long handle used especially for cultivating, weeding, or loosening the earth around plants
2 : backhoe


hoed; hoeing

Definition of hoe (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

: to work with a tool with a thin flat blade on a long handle to cultivate, weed, or loosen the earth around plants : to use or work with a hoe (see hoe entry 1) or backhoe hoeing in the garden all day

transitive verb

1 : to weed, cultivate, or thin (a crop) with a hoe (see hoe entry 1) hoeing carrots and turnips
2 : to remove (weeds) by hoeing
3 : to dress or cultivate (land) by hoeing The garden needs to be hoed.


biographical name (1)
\ ˈhō How to pronounce Hoe (audio) \

Definition of Hoe (Entry 3 of 4)

Richard March 1812–1886 son of Robert Hoe American inventor


biographical name (2)

Definition of Hoe (Entry 4 of 4)

Robert 1784–1833 American (English-born) printing-press manufacturer

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from hoe


hoer \ ˈhō(-​ə)r How to pronounce hoer (audio) \ noun

Examples of hoe in a Sentence


The garden has to be hoed. She was hoeing in the garden all day.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That pile might include garden hoes, shoes, bowling balls and pieces of plywood, based on other news reports. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "How recycling works in Anchorage: Most of it ends up in the Lower 48," 7 June 2019 Prevent cracks and crusting of the soil with mulch or going through with a hoe and fluffing up the top couple of inches. oregonlive.com, "Trial gardens show vegetables can be grown without irrigation," 11 June 2019 Flynn enthusiastically wielded his hoe, planting tree after tree alongside local people who had come to help. Allyn Stewart, Town & Country, "How Kuki Gallmann Became One of Kenya's Great Protectors," 24 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Also, readers should know that Apple faces a long, hard row to hoe in getting websites and apps to sign on to this. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Apple WWDC 2019: iTunes is yesterday; today's all about swifter new iOS features," 3 June 2019 What’s different in 2018 is that most of the smaller Oscar contenders — and even some of the bigger ones — have found tough rows to hoe at the box office. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "It looks like the Oscars are going to nominate a bunch of big hits for Best Picture," 30 Nov. 2018 During the war years, dandelions were grown in neat rows allowing farmers to hoe between lines of the plants. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, "Dandelions Ruin Your Front Yard but Could Be the Future of the Rubber Industry," 2 Oct. 2018 Fortunately, these seedlings are easy to hoe away and once taken down to the soil don't regenerate. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what’s eating your currant bushes and ‘spitting’ on your wild roses," 13 July 2018 My first job at 14 was hoeing on a tree nursery, all day, five days a week. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dirt under your fingernails is a mental health remedy," 22 June 2018 In the former, the unpopularity of incumbent Daniel Malloy is creating a tough row to hoe for likely Democratic nominee Ned Lamont (famous for wresting away the party nomination from Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2006). Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats Hope For Big Gubernatorial Gains This November," 16 June 2018 So yes, digging, raking, hoeing, weeding, and planting all fit into the functional exercise category. Kimberly Garrison, Philly.com, "How to get a great workout in the garden," 6 June 2018 With mulch in place, hoeing won’t work to remove weeds. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Save yourself some work in your garden and with your lawn this year | Idaho Statesman," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hoe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hoe


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for hoe

Noun and Verb

Middle English howe, from Anglo-French houe, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German houwa mattock, houwan to hew — more at hew

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hoe

Dictionary Entries near hoe







hoe culture

Statistics for hoe

Last Updated

1 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hoe

The first known use of hoe was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hoe



English Language Learners Definition of hoe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a garden tool that has a flat blade on a long handle



English Language Learners Definition of hoe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to work on (something, such as a garden or a crop) with a hoe


\ ˈhō How to pronounce hoe (audio) \

Kids Definition of hoe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tool with a long handle and a thin flat blade used for weeding and cultivating


hoed; hoeing

Kids Definition of hoe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to weed or loosen the soil around plants with a hoe

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hoe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hoe

Spanish Central: Translation of hoe

Nglish: Translation of hoe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hoe for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hoe

Comments on hoe

What made you want to look up hoe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!