1

hoity-toity

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

Definition of hoity-toity

:thoughtless giddy behavior

hoity-toity was our Word of the Day on 07/07/2016. Hear the podcast!

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


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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

readily predictable

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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