1

hoity-toity

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

Definition of hoity-toity

: thoughtless giddy behavior

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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."

Origin and Etymology of hoity-toity

rhyming compound from English dialect hoit to play the fool


2

hoity-toity

adjective

Definition of hoity-toity

1 : thoughtlessly silly or frivolous : flighty
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

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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HOITY-TOITY Defined for English Language Learners

hoity-toity

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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