Definition of cloven hoof in English:

cloven hoof

(also cloven foot)


  • 1The divided hoof or foot of ruminants such as cattle, sheep, goats, and deer.

    • ‘She could not believe that the goats could climb so steep an incline so nimbly on only cloven hooves, when she was barely able to find a finger hold in the rock.’
    • ‘Artiodactyls are characterized by the presence of two enlarged toes forming a cloven hoof; the hoof of a goat or cow is anatomically the enlarged third and fourth toes.’
    • ‘Historically, the most frequently discussed taboos are those associated with the early Hebrews, whose most famous restrictions forbade the consumption of animals that did not have cloven hooves and did not chew their cud.’
    • ‘A stream of animals is flowing across the road, raising dust from hundreds and thousands of cloven hooves.’
    • ‘The Pegasus was a filly, her yellow coat and gold cloven hooves glowing like a small sun, and blue mane and tail the color of the sky.’
    • ‘The movement restriction zones apply to all cloven hoof animals, including pigs, sheep, goats and cattle, and will remain in place pending further investigation.’
    • ‘With the kid on a snowy trail through close pines, we see the tracks of cloven hooves in the snow.’
    • ‘Aristotle gave a brief description of two animals, one with a cloven hoof and one with a solid hoof.’
    • ‘We were about halfway in when we passed those doe-eyed cows, and all I wanted to do was collapse at their cloven hooves, smear my body into the sun-warm grass, and sleep.’
    • ‘As animals which do not have cloven hooves or chew cud, horses and donkeys are prohibited for both Jews and Muslims.’
    • ‘When you observe the ruminants, he went on, you see that they all lack upper incisors, and they all possess horns or antlers, a four-chambered stomach, and cloven hooves.’
    • ‘Foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious disease affecting cloven hoof animals, was discovered on the farm last week.’
    foot, trotter, cloven hoof
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A cloven hoof ascribed to a satyr, the god Pan, or to the Devil, sometimes used as a symbol or mark of the latter:
      figurative ‘sometimes he shows the cloven hoof of the chanson writer’
      • ‘Horns on his head, cloven hooves and hairy legs, the bare-chested Lucifer emerges from the fiery pit of hell.’
      • ‘He said the sober Devil can hide his cloven hoof; but when the Devil drinks he loses his cunning and grows honest.’
      • ‘Then there's the other half of my brain, packed to the rafters with a host of little demons dancing away on their cloven hooves, screaming, ‘But it's summer!’’
      • ‘So it goes with the island's multifarious jumbies or evil spirits, who stand with one human foot in society and one cloven hoof in the jungle.’
      • ‘Places like this are the source of sagas and myths, in which the devil generally plays a part; sometimes having forgotten something, or having left an imprint of a cloven hoof.’
      • ‘They sound like they're describing alien demons with cloven hooves and scaly talons.’
      • ‘At least, I initially thought it was a horse, judging from his muzzle, but he had a graceful white body with delicate cloven feet, a long sinuous tail and a single golden horn rising from his forehead.’
      • ‘In medieval engravings and reliefs the Devil is frequently portrayed as a sort of satyr, with cloven hooves and the torso of a man.’
      • ‘And to clench matters, many depictions of John actually show him with the lower torso of a satyr, cloven hooves and all!’
      • ‘He must be sitting in Hell sharpening his cloven hooves, just waiting for the day when members of the marketing department show up.’
      • ‘You could see the disappointment registering on the faces of the morbid crowd when they realised we had not grown horns on our foreheads or cloven feet.’


cloven hoof

/ˌkləʊv(ə)n ˈhuːf/