Definition of hocus in English:



[with object]archaic
  • 1Deceive (someone)

    ‘these people have been hocussed and cheated by the government’
    • ‘These surfers have hocused the Feds for long enough.’
    • ‘This applies particularly to commercial albumin, especially egg, which is hocused to a great extent by the unscrupulous.’
    • ‘I think you were hocused by the telephoto lens that was apparantly used to take the photograph you are referring to.’
  • 2Stupefy (someone) with drugs, typically for a criminal purpose.

    ‘he was hocussed at supper and lost £800’
    • ‘But I was one night suspected of hocussing and robbing a sailor, and - though if I was on my death-bed I could swear that I never had any hand in the affair at all - I was so blown upon that I was forced to shift my quarters.’


Late 17th century: from an obsolete noun hocus ‘trickery’, from hocus-pocus.