\ 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 Baby’s hooky, introspective and deeply Southern hip-hop has become a defining sound of the year in lockdown. Los Angeles Times, "Lil Baby owned 2020. Wait until you hear about his 2021," 7 Dec. 2020 Her assailants, a group of teenage girls playing hooky from school, had not broken into her home. Emily Langer, Washington Post, "Bill Pelke, anti-death penalty activist with passion forged in grief, dies at 73," 18 Nov. 2020 Again, the two big offseason transfers/medical patients, G Trai Turner and T Bryan Bulaga, played hooky from the right side. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Nick Canepa’s Chargers report card: vs. Jaguars," 25 Oct. 2020 In the early 1900s, long before Ferris played hooky in his, a prim sweater vest was the sort of thing a tony aristocrat would have worn to keep warm while fox hunting. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Sick of Your Zoom Shirt? Add a Ferris Bueller-Inspired Vest," 6 Oct. 2020 Time to play a little work-hooky, sidle up to a bar somewhere and take part in an all-too rare joy around here. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: How do these Reds compare to the last three playoff teams?," 30 Sep. 2020 How is a gap year different than just playing hooky? Courtney Shea, refinery29.com, "How To Have A Meaningful Gap Year (Step 1: Turn Off Netflix)," 8 Sep. 2020 Trinkets then jumps back in the timeline to reveal the events that brought the trio to their morning of hooky. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Inside The Trinkets Finale’s Powerful Ode To Survivors, Grief, & Growth," 26 Aug. 2020 Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so there's no need to play hooky! Tierney Mcafee, Country Living, "The Best 'Ferris Bueller' Costume Ideas to Channel Your Inner Teenager This Halloween," 14 July 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for hooky

Time Traveler

The first known use of hooky was in 1608

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Statistics for hooky

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hooky.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hooky. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for hooky


variants: also hookey \ ˈhu̇-​kē \

Kids Definition of hooky

: truant She played hooky from work.

Comments on hooky

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