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variants or less commonly hookey


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hookier; hookiest
: 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
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
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

Examples of hooky in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The mischievous Ferris decides to play hooky and ropes in his girlfriend Sloane and best friend Cameron for some fun. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 21 Feb. 2023 The protagonist was in a dour period, but still delivered a sarcastic toast to his gold-digger ex, using a hooky, singalong chorus to mask the pain in the lyric. Tom Roland, Billboard, 19 July 2023 The marathon run sounded great, was filled with both Swift’s huge, hooky hits and deeper cuts, mixed keen musicianship with joyful choreo, and left the audience headed to their cars to queue their own favorite eras on Spotify. William Earl, Variety, 27 May 2023 For a few weeks, Trump has made noises about playing hooky on debate day. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 4 May 2023 The 30-plus tournament boats were led out of Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, to the boca of the Hudson River and through New York City Harbor to the Verrazzano Bridge by NYPD officers who seemed to be having some good fun playing a little hooky on their patrol zodiacs. Monte Burke, Forbes, 5 June 2022 From a little girl playing hooky to watch the NFL Draft to building espnW, this ride has been a dream come true. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 June 2023 That hooky seems to have been forgiven by his boss, who sometimes trains with him and watched the match from the players’ box on court. Chris Morris, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2023 The Pure favors high speeds in wide-open terrain, with a long turn radius underfoot that yields predictability in weird backcountry snow where too much sidecut gets hooky. Heather Schultz, Outside Online, 26 Oct. 2021
But director Roshan Sethi gives the musical interludes some visual pop; and the songs are genuinely hooky. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2023 And, of course, songs are hooky but have heart. Liza Lentini, SPIN, 29 July 2022 Ballard, the producer of Wilson Phillips and Paula Abdul, gave it a wall of sound; the melodies were hooky and lyrical. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 17 Sep. 2021 The song is a hooky, upbeat jam with a pop-punk edge and lyrics about the trials and tribulations of love, with vocals from the duo’s Drew Taggart and a shimmery synth finish. Katie Bain, Billboard, 28 Jan. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hooky.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



probably from slang hook, hook it to make off

First Known Use


1842, in the meaning defined above


1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hooky was in 1608

Dictionary Entries Near hooky

Cite this Entry

“Hooky.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hooky. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants also hookey
plural hookies or hookeys
: truant
play hooky
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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