ca·​hoot kə-ˈhüt How to pronounce cahoot (audio)
plural cahoots
: partnership, league
usually used in plural
usually used in phrase like in cahoots to describe people or groups working together or making plans together in secret
… shadowy characters in cahoots who work their secret ends until they are flushed out by intrepid reporting.Garrison Keillor… fraud can be nearly impossible to detect whenever two law firm insiders are in cahootsRorie Sherman… a formidable American beauty who is in cahoots with the C.I.A.Patrick AndersonFriends of the terminally ill jeweler are ready to see him go to Ireland. They got into cahoots, as he puts it, to fund a 'Send Dick to Ireland' trip with a weekend yard sale …Andrea BrownWhen his wife leaves for a visit with her mother, a young man is thrust into cahoots with gangsters …VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever

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Cahoot is used almost exclusively in the phrase "in cahoots," which means "in an alliance or partnership." In most contexts, it describes the conspiring activity of people up to no good. (There's also the rare idiom go cahoots, meaning "to enter into a partnership," as in "they went cahoots on a new restaurant.") "Cahoot" may derive from French cahute, meaning "cabin" or "hut," suggesting the notion of two or more people hidden away working together in secret. "Cahute" is believed to have been formed through the combination of two other words for cabins and huts, "cabane" and "hutte."

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In contrast, Nora and her foul-mouthed grandma are often in cahoots. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Feb. 2020 Caleb is in cahoots with characters played by Lena Waithe and Marshawn Lynch (why not), and apparently will team up with Dolores in some form or another based on the trailer. Jeva Lange, TheWeek, 13 Mar. 2020 Future Forward has even been accused of being in cahoots with the Illuminati, the 18th-century secret order that has featured in the world-domination fantasies of Hollywood screenwriters and conspiracy theorists. Hannah Beech, New York Times, 21 Feb. 2020 Referees were irked by Anastasiades’ remarks during the event that some referees are in cahoots with corrupt individuals within the sport that lead international soccer bodies to point the finger at Cyprus over suspected match-fixing. Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2020 Particularly since the police were allegedly in cahoots with the rampaging mob. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, 5 Jan. 2020 In the mix, there's the conniving soon-to-be stepmom and the in-cahoots household help. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, 11 Dec. 2019 Sometimes parents are in cahoots, receiving a kickback for signing false attendance records. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, 27 Oct. 2019 And Chris Cox, its top lobbyist who is widely viewed as a successor to LaPierre, resigned after being accused of being in cahoots with North in a failed attempt to oust LaPierre as CEO. Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2019 See More

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

Word History


perhaps from French cahute cabin, hut

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cahoot was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near cahoot

Cite this Entry

“Cahoot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

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