\ ˈhu̇-kē How to pronounce hooky (audio) \
variants: or less commonly hookey

Definition of hooky

 (Entry 1 of 2)

play hooky or less commonly play hookey
US, informal
: to be away from school without permission Out on the playground, a boy from another homeroom cavorted around on a dirt bike, doing wheelies. He was playing hooky, but evidently couldn't stay away.— Tracy Kidder When he was a small child [Babe] Ruth was a holy terror. He had incredible energy, was relentlessly active and was always in trouble. He played hooky from school. He stole fruits and vegetables from stores, threw them at truck-drivers and ran and hid from the police.— Robert W. Creamer He [Tom Sawyer] moped to school gloomy and sad, and took his flogging, along with Joe Harper, for playing hookey the day before, with the air of one whose heart was busy with heavier woes and wholly dead to trifles.— Mark Twain also : to be away from work or similar duties in a way likened to a child skipping school Hawkins is a tanned, muscular man in his 40s who's playing hooky today from his job as a printer's ink chemist. — Doug Stewart Most New Yorkers were at work last Tuesday while the official ceremony was going on—and many of those who played hooky chose to go to the ticker-tape parade for the world champion New York Mets. — David Gates … in 1948 I once played hookey from my radio writing job with Edgar Bergen to play in the Santa Monica Open. — Arthur Marx


hookier; hookiest

Definition of hooky (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : curved or bent like a hook Her nose was long and hooky, and she had no teeth—or if she had them, they weren't in her mouth.— K. C. Constantine His coal-black, glossy hair commanded and obtained her admiration, and she found his hooky nose to be handsome.— Anthony Trollope
2 music : appealing and easy to remember : catchy a hooky melody/tune/rhythm … combining scintillating rhythm tracks with a kaleidoscope of hooky musical styles …— Dave Marsh Wild is a vibrant, hooky pop song flavored with Joni Mitchell illusions and funk.— Nelson George

Examples of hooky in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Halloween is a Monday this year — don't get any ideas about playing hooky on Tuesday. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 11 May 2022 But fans hoping to ditch work to take in Cleveland’s home opener the following week might have just lost their reason to play hooky. Joe Noga, cleveland, 11 Mar. 2022 Within a few sessions of playing hooky from his ski jumping and cross country lessons, the 6-year-old had taught himself to do a backflip. The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Feb. 2022 Mike Williams, playing hooky lately, showed up for class with three quick catches and then the 53-yarder to put his side up after blowing the lead. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Nov. 2021 Joe isn’t convinced of Gordon’s guilt and decides to continue investigating alternative theories; post-windfall, Eva and Gordon play hooky and make amends. Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2021 High-school hooky players flitted about looking for the next Instagram moment. Ben Crandell, sun-sentinel.com, 12 Nov. 2021 European Union nationals and a couple categories of students and workers are exempt from these requirements, but for virtually everyone else the message is clear: Play hooky and pack your bags. Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2021 In 1965, the same year Kerry played hooky from school, his class made a field trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which had just opened at its current location. The New Yorker, 2 Aug. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of hooky


1842, in the meaning defined above


1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hooky


probably from slang hook, hook it to make off

Learn More About hooky

Dictionary Entries Near hooky

hook wrench



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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hooky.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hooky. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hooky


variants: also hookey \ ˈhu̇-​kē \

Kids Definition of hooky

: truant She played hooky from work.


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