1

hoity–toity

play
noun hoi·ty–toi·ty \ˌhȯi-tē-ˈtȯi-tē, ˌhī-tē-ˈtī-tē\

Definition of hoity–toity

  1. :  thoughtless giddy behavior

When Should You Use hoity-toity?

Today we most often use hoity-toity as an adjective, but before it was an adjective it was a noun meaning "thoughtless giddy behavior." The noun, which first appeared in print in the middle of the 17th century, was probably created as a singsongy rhyme based on the dialectal English word hoit, meaning "to play the fool." The adjective hoity-toity can stay close to its roots and mean "foolish" ("… as though it were very hoity-toity of me not to know that royal personage." — W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge), but in current use it more often means "pretentious."

Origin and Etymology of hoity–toity

rhyming compound from English dialect hoit to play the fool


2

hoity–toity

adjective hoi·ty–toi·ty

Definition of hoity–toity

  1. 1 :  thoughtlessly silly or frivolous :  flighty

  2. 2 :  marked by an air of assumed importance :  highfalutin a hoity-toity college professor The restaurant was too hoity-toity for my tastes.

First Known Use of hoity–toity

1812


HOITY–TOITY Defined for English Language Learners

hoity-toity

adjective

Definition of hoity–toity for English Language Learners

  • : having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people


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