Definition of hoity–toity
: 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
First Known Use: 1668See Words from the same year
First Known Use of hoity–toity
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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