hoity-toity was our Word of the Day on 07/07/2016. Hear the podcast!
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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."
HOITY-TOITY Defined for English Language Learners
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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