\ ˈhu̇f How to pronounce hoof (audio) , ˈhüf How to pronounce hoof (audio) \
plural hooves\ ˈhüvz How to pronounce hoof (audio) , ˈhu̇vz \ also hoofs

Definition of hoof

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a curved covering of horn that protects the front of or encloses the ends of the digits of an ungulate mammal and that corresponds to a nail or claw
2 : a hoofed foot especially of a horse
on the hoof
of a meat animal : before butchering : living 90¢ a pound on the hoof


hoofed; hoofing; hoofs

Definition of hoof (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to walk especially with haste hoofed it to the lecture hall
2 : kick, trample

intransitive verb

: to move on the feet especially : dance

Illustration of hoof

Illustration of hoof


hoof 2: 1, 2, 3, 4 parts of wall (1 toe, 2 side walls, 3 quarters, 4 buttresses), 5 bulbs, 6 sole, 7 frog

In the meaning defined above

Examples of hoof in a Sentence

Verb The cast was hoofing on the stage.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That's when the cows arrived to lend a helping hoof. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Dec. 2021 Tootsie Roll was diagnosed with laminitis, an inflammation and damage of the tissue between the hoof and an underlying bone. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Oct. 2021 Sometimes, thrillingly, the sparse habitat of the prose yields a hoof or a horn, a glimpse of exotic vocabulary. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 But a hoof got caught in the fence; the panther had to abandon the animal and flee. Richard Mertens, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 July 2021 The point feet have a small surface area, kind of like the hoof of an actual springbok. Matt Simon, Wired, 14 June 2021 Still, Sudeikis - who has rewritten scenes on the hoof, as the English say - wears the most hats of all. Clark Collis, EW.com, 8 June 2021 Preakness Stakes at home or in person will notice a significant change to this year’s events before a single hoof touches track. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, 13 May 2021 William Sprague IV, who was in office in 1860 to 1863, rode a horse with one white hoof on a beach in his portrait. BostonGlobe.com, 6 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This encourages employees to skip the elevator and hoof it to their meetings. Nancy Clanton, ajc, 6 Jan. 2022 But unlike in past years, there won’t be free shuttles available for the general public, so be prepared to drive and/or hoof it. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2021 According to the outlet, the rest of the herd had to hoof it down the mountain, making their way to Urnerboden. Naledi Ushe, PEOPLE.com, 2 Sep. 2021 When hunger strikes, hoof it over to Storms Pakhus, the largest street food market in Odense. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 Aug. 2021 The production is a truly a spectacle — aerialists spin, a stilt walker bobs, ribbons twirl, tap dancers hoof it — but director J. Marie Bailey ensures that the title character’s journey to adulthood isn’t lost among the hubbub. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 11 Apr. 2021 To get a substantial health bang from walking, experts say, plan to hoof it briskly for half an hour a day or more. Gretchen Reynolds, Health.com, 11 June 2020 The best opportunity fell to Barcelona forward Lionel Messi in the 72nd minute, who uncharacteristically hoofed the ball way over the crossbar. SI.com, 24 June 2019 Travelers can get there by cable car or by hoofing it. National Geographic, 7 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hoof.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hoof


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1641, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for hoof


Middle English, from Old English hōf; akin to Old High German huof hoof, Sanskrit śapha

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Time Traveler for hoof

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The first known use of hoof was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near hoof



hoof-and-mouth disease

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Cite this Entry

“Hoof.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoof. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hoof


\ ˈhu̇f How to pronounce hoof (audio) , ˈhüf \
plural hooves\ ˈhu̇vz , ˈhüvz \ or hoofs

Kids Definition of hoof

1 : a covering of tough material that protects the ends of the toes of some animals (as horses, oxen, or pigs)
2 : a foot (as of a horse) covered by a hoof

Other Words from hoof

hoofed \ ˈhu̇ft , ˈhüft \ adjective


\ ˈhu̇f How to pronounce hoof (audio) , ˈhüf How to pronounce hoof (audio) \
plural hooves\ ˈhüvz How to pronounce hoof (audio) , ˈhu̇vz How to pronounce hoof (audio) \ also hoofs

Medical Definition of hoof

: a horny covering that protects the ends of the toes of numerous plant-eating 4-footed mammals (as horses or cattle) also : a hoofed foot

More from Merriam-Webster on hoof

Nglish: Translation of hoof for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hoof for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hoof


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