\ 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

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Examples of hoof in a Sentence

Verb The cast was hoofing on the stage.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Prada and Simone Rocha showed split-sole options, while Matthew Williams’s hoof-like platform at Givenchy is truly for the brave. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The 10 Most Important Accessory Trends for Fall 2021," 19 Mar. 2021 And not a single hoof grazed a single hair on his head. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Have you ever wondered why you can find so many plant species? Thank these early explorers," 18 Sep. 2020 Trenton Linderer’s 14-point buck weighed a whopping 254 pounds on the hoof and has a Buckmaster score of 193 4/8 inches. Outdoor Life, "Cracking the Mystery Behind Missouri’s Year of the Giant Buck," 15 Dec. 2020 Outside, his horses had weathered the storm pretty well, though Mallett had just pulled a nail – one of countless bits strewn all across the area by the twin storms – from one animal's hoof. Andrea Gallo, NOLA.com, "In and around Lake Charles, Laura-weary residents pick up the pieces again after Hurricane Delta," 10 Oct. 2020 Hollingsworth's horse was reported to have suffered an injury to its hoof, but no further detail on its condition has been released. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "'Census Cowboy' leads Illinois police in slow-speed chase on expressway," 21 Sep. 2020 So that brings us to the author of our opening quote about a mule’s hoof. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Have you ever wondered why you can find so many plant species? Thank these early explorers," 18 Sep. 2020 To make hooves: Cut a hoof shape out of the felt and attach with hot glue to the toe area of each one of the baby's socks. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "3 Adorable Pig Costumes That Are Easy Enough for Anyone to DIY This Halloween," 9 Sep. 2020 The horse will be under a slow re-feeding plan and therapeutic hoof treatment to get her back to good health. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "$5K reward offered after severely emaciated horse found dumped off side of road in Brookshire," 12 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "How Much Exercise Do You Need, and Which Type is Best for You?," 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, "Copa América Roundup: Argentina Squeak Through to the Next Round as Colombia Finish Unbeaten," 24 June 2019 Travelers can get there by cable car or by hoofing it. National Geographic, "What you don’t know about the Vikings?," 7 Apr. 2020 The gala's big opening dance number consisted of Hasanovic hoofing it alone in a room surrounded by screens projecting classic scenes from German cinema past and present. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "'System Crasher' Wins Big in Lockdown Version of German Film Awards," 24 Apr. 2020 Some travel writers prefer to hoof it or take a boat. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The 87 Greatest Travel Books of All Time, According to Authors," 8 Jan. 2020 Especially with 10:52 left in the first half, when Detroit’s Jamal Agnew took a Colby Waldman punt, broke a Joe Jones tackle, and hoofed it 64 yards for a touchdown, pushing the Lions lead to 10-0. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Broncos up-down drill: Best and worst performances against the Lions," 22 Dec. 2019 Hikers have come a long, long way from clunky framed backpacks, heavy boots, and hoofing it in floor-length wool skirts. Gray Chapman, SELF, "23 Helpful Gifts for Hikers, According to a Seasoned Trekker," 11 Dec. 2019 The views start opening up after 3 miles, but the highlight of the hike is hoofing it to the top of North Dome, scurrying a bit farther down the other side and drinking in views of Half Dome. Washington Post, "Disturbing the peace? 5 hikes to avoid Yosemite crowds," 25 Nov. 2019

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hoof

Last Updated

30 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hoof.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoof. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for hoof



English Language Learners Definition of hoof

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the hard covering on the foot of an animal (such as a horse or pig)



English Language Learners Definition of hoof (Entry 2 of 2)

US, informal : to dance as a performer


\ 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

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