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


The cast was hoofing on the stage.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

LAMINITIS Laminae are the fibrous tissues that attach the hoof to the leg. Jeff Goertzen, The Mercury News, "The truth about horse racing deaths," 30 June 2019 In this leaderless movement, decisions are made collectively on the hoof, or by emotional fiat of the moment. The Economist, "Hong Kong protesters storm the legislative council," 30 June 2019 Note: Global Campaign was part of the original starting field but was scratched Wednesday after a chronic hoof injury failed to respond to treatment. Bob Roberts, cleveland.com, "Preakness placer Owendale favored in 2019 Ohio Derby," 20 June 2019 The pounding of the soil by the hooves of livestock in ranching, for example, may degrade the soil and encourage erosion by wind and water. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Deserts, explained," 12 June 2019 Several of the famed ponies picked up the infection in their hooves and legs, likely after stepping in contaminated wetlands on Assateague Island. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "A Deadly 'Swamp Cancer' Has Killed Seven of the Famous Chincoteague Wild Ponies," 11 Jan. 2019 To make the surface suitable for the hooves of galloping horses, the stunt team laid down three different layers of material. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "How They Pulled Off the Chase Scene in 'Robin Hood'," 30 Nov. 2018 Recently discovered in permafrost in the Siberian region of Yakutia, the skin, hair, hooves and tail of the carcass are all preserved. James Rogers, Fox News, "Scientists want to clone this extinct, frozen prehistoric horse," 6 Sep. 2018 Clever Hans, given a number, could tap his hoof the right number of times… but only if his handler was in the room. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Horses may understand human emotion, especially anger," 6 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The most compelling explanation is that high-quality games involve teams who are good at retaining possession, and low-quality ones feature those who spend most of the time hoofing the ball in the air and tackling each other. M.s., The Economist, "Women’s football is flourishing, on the pitch and off it," 24 June 2019 On parade day, between road closures and traffic, your best bet is to hoof it a little. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "Your questions about Chicago Pride Fest and the Chicago Pride Parade, answered," 12 June 2018 The opposite of taking a walk on the wild side might be to hoof it across the 500 or so reflective, slow-going miles that form the Camino de Santiago, the renowned medieval Catholic pilgrimage route that spans northern Spain. Gary Goldstein, latimes.com, "'Strangers on the Earth' doc inspires as it captures musician's sacred trek," 31 May 2018 Often, her daily after-school schedule consists of a couple of hours of training at the Peabody track with the rest of the team, then moving half a mile down the street for a few hours hoofing it at the studio Expressions in Dance. Matt Case, BostonGlobe.com, "Murphy, Gorgenyi quick out of the gate," 4 May 2018 The other one was less congenial and ended up hoofing it to safety by following the beam to the bridge's end. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Two goats make a huge mistake, get stranded on bridge," 6 Apr. 2018 Cassidy wrote that the 32 billion steps hoofed annually on the boardwalk could operate most of the appliances in a small restaurant (including the refrigerator, freezer, oven, microwave, dishwasher and air conditioner) for 320 days. Terry Gardner, latimes.com, "How travelers to California's most popular landmarks could create electricity while they walk," 20 Mar. 2018 In 2017, four of his shows — Sunset Boulevard, Cats, School of Rock and Phantom — were hoofing it on Broadway at the same time. Jocelyn Mcclurg, USA TODAY, "Weekend picks for book lovers, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Unmasked'," 17 Mar. 2018 But soon enough, the people of Beverly Hills were outside City Hall every Monday morning, ready to hoof it for two or three miles in the name of meeting their daily step goals, and their mayor. Elspeth Velten, Vogue, "In the World’s Most Famous Zip Code, Don't Settle for Just Any Tour Guide," 22 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for hoof

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hoof

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

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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 hooves (audio) , ˈhu̇vz How to pronounce hooves (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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More from Merriam-Webster on hoof

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hoof

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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