Definition of hoof in English:



  • The horny part of the foot of an ungulate animal, especially a horse.

    ‘there was a clatter of hoofs as a rider came up to them’
    • ‘Some of the strongest kinds of glue in the world are made from the hooves of dead horses.’
    • ‘Worse still, due to bad roads the animals are often left with bleeding injuries and broken hooves.’
    • ‘The only sound I could hear was the clicking of our boots and the hooves of our horses.’
    • ‘Cyril paused to lift up one of the horse's hooves and check it for pebbles and mud.’
    • ‘She heard the horse hooves slow and she saw that they were coming to a stop at an inn.’
    • ‘The unicorn was the color of alabaster, except for the pure gold of his hooves and horn.’
    • ‘Sometimes I can hear the horses whinnying, hooves clip-clopping up the street.’
    • ‘She was thinking about going back home when she heard hooves clatter on the bridge.’
    • ‘Most of them show an animal with cloven hoofs and a beard like a goat, or sometimes a mane like a horse.’
    • ‘The carriage slowed to a halt as Kaylen heard the clatter of hooves on cobblestone.’
    • ‘She heard the clopping of horse hooves but she didn't know where it was coming from.’
    • ‘The hooves of five stallions on a Cotswold stud farm were so badly overgrown that two of the animals had to be put down, a court heard on Monday.’
    • ‘With their teeth, hooves, horns and dung, wildebeest have literally cultivated the grasslands.’
    • ‘The road was dusty, dry from the summer heat and churned by the passing of hooves and feet.’
    • ‘The more it rained and the more the horses churned up the ground with their hooves, the worse it got.’
    • ‘I closed my eyes, the horses hooves and the rocking of the carriage almost lulling me to sleep.’
    • ‘Clip-clop, clip-clop went his hooves as he clattered over the wooden planks.’
    • ‘The angry stamping of hooves brought her back to the present situation.’
    • ‘The sound of horse hooves pounding toward her made Annabelle look up in fright.’
    • ‘The two horses leapt over him, their iron shod hooves just mere inches from his body.’
    foot, trotter, cloven hoof
    ungula, cloot
    View synonyms


[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • 1Kick (a ball) powerfully.

    ‘he hoofed the ball 70 metres’
    • ‘There can't be nine players hoofing the ball upfield from their own area any more, and if we play like that, then I don't fancy being part of it.’
    • ‘Henrik Larsson sends a low cross fizzing into the Bulgaria box, but Predrag Pazhin does well to hoof the ball over his own bar and out for a corner, from which nothing comes.’
    • ‘It never really came and it seemed as if both Jones and Wilkinson were obsessed with hoofing the ball down the middle of the park.’
    • ‘In fairness he can hoof the ball a huge distance but when your hooker can't throw and your catchers can't catch this is a ploy best avoided.’
    • ‘None of those players are ever asked to talk to Claire Tomlinson about why they hoofed the ball into their own net spectacularly from 20 yards, or why they failed to hit the net from two yards despite the absence of the goalkeeper.’
    • ‘Donegal hoofed the ball down the pitch with the wind carrying it to the visitors' five-metre line.’
    • ‘When the ball had been hoofed into the main stand during play in the first half, who should pop up with it in his hands but chief executive Chris Robinson?’
    • ‘It'll certainly give England's defenders plenty to think about while they're hoofing long balls up to Peter Crouch.’
    • ‘The days when you could just hoof the ball up to a striker have long since gone; even Wimbledon don't play by these tactics any more.’
    • ‘We switch from playing some good football to just hoofing the ball up the pitch into no-man's land.’
    • ‘Even under pressure when the Portuguese were desperately trying to get back into the game he showed a lot of composure and didn't just hoof the ball forward.’
    • ‘Ray Cashley hoofed the ball into the net for Bristol City v Hull City in the 1973/74 season.’
    • ‘As Smit said afterwards, the forwards felt afterwards that they owed a great deal to the way Du Toit was able to hoof the ball back into the Irish half.’
    • ‘Then on Saturday Knottingley just hoofed the ball downfield, chased it and hoped for a lucky bounce, which they got.’
    • ‘The ball is sent back to Ambrosio, who hoofs it up the field.’
    • ‘On one occasion he turned a yellow card into a red one by needlessly hoofing the ball away after being flagged offside.’
    • ‘They are not a team who will hoof the ball up the pitch and hope for something to break.’
    • ‘Instead, he pulls ten men back and hoofs the ball long, to be chased or held up by a willing workhorse.’
    • ‘A similar reliance on hoofing the ball towards Beattie when the team is struggling will not yield the points required for champions league football.’
    • ‘Hildebrand hoofs the ball upfield and John Terry, who's been excellent tonight, heads the ball back into the Stuttgart half.’
    • ‘Borough's plan appeared to be nothing more than hoofing the ball as far and as high as they could into the Morecambe penalty area.’
  • 2Go on foot.

    ‘I paid the check and hoofed it over to Jane Street’
    • ‘A spanking new airport and swish metro system help, but the runners will probably find it easier to hoof it to the starting blocks.’
    • ‘Parking a few blocks from her old apartment, Delilah exited the car in favor of hoofing it the rest of the way.’
    • ‘If you are required to keep your cart on the path, you can end up walking farther than you would have if you hoofed it.’
    • ‘Most of our vehicles got shipped south, leaving me to hoof it.’
    • ‘With a spring, he jumped out of the alleyway and hoofed it back to his apartment.’
    • ‘Two subway stops and a Metro ride later, we were in Jersey, hoofing it back to where the old man was.’
    • ‘Why go with a guide instead of hoofing it on your own?’
    • ‘After two months of pilot training, he flies to India, where he's forced to sell his plane and hoof it.’
    • ‘Instead of hoofing it to a video store, go to the local library, where you can rent movies for almost half the price (some libraries even offer free rentals).’
    • ‘I hoofed it to my parents' room to tell them the story.’
    • ‘Although this is a business trip, I'll have a few hours to hoof it around London, and I am interested to know which places I can visit that have special appeal to Catholics.’
    • ‘After getting off the tram to the hotel, I notice a coffeeshop right by the tram stop, so I hoof it to the hotel, check in, shower, and put on some blissfully fresh clothes, and then head right back to it.’
    • ‘The bus wheezed up the road to the village of Naggar, where we disembarked, hoisted our packs, and started hoofing it.’
    go by foot, go on foot, travel on foot, foot it, be a pedestrian
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Dance.
      ‘we hoof it reasonably fancily, and no one guffaws’
      • ‘But, no, he really does run a dance club, and Maria is soon hoofing it in Geneva.’
      • ‘Fred's a smart alec sailor who bumps into his old flame while on shore leave, and it's not long before they're hoofing it to ‘Let Yourself Go’ and ‘Dance’.’
      • ‘Certainly it's nothing new to see older dancers still hoofing it.’
      • ‘She tapped on tabletops and trod the backs of shirtless he-men, hoofing it up with Ginger Rogers and Bob Fosse.’


  • on the hoof

    • 1(of livestock) not yet slaughtered.

      ‘livestock on the hoof’
      • ‘‘It would be so much more humane to send them on the hook, and not on the hoof,’ said SPCA local manager Marie Eekhout.’
      • ‘It is also used by a number of exporters in the Irish livestock industry who ship cattle on the hoof to Lebanon, Egypt and Europe.’
      • ‘In the past the production, distribution and circulation of buffaloes, both on the hoof and as meat, were controlled by the nobility and other wealthy commoners.’
      • ‘Remember that we're talking about an animal that weighs all of 110 lb. on the hoof.’
      • ‘It made you gaze knowingly out over the herd as if you were calculating what they'd bring on the hoof at market.’
      • ‘This all seemed to work well, but as well as this, according to the regulations, you must have a vet to first inspect all slaughter animals on the hoof - thus adding to the expense.’
      • ‘He said livestock was judged on the hoof at the show and subsequently slaughtered at the East London abattoir.’
      • ‘Moreover, the settlers augmented the Aboriginal food supply by providing them with dogs to hunt kangaroos plus a plentiful supply of beef and lamb on the hoof.’
      • ‘The levy of 30% on cattle exported on the hoof, on the other hand, is aimed at discouraging the export of live animals from the country.’
      • ‘The continuing recovery of the live export trade resulted in the export on the hoof of 113,000 head, and increase of 67,000 head, but still well below the level of thirty years ago.’
    • 2Without proper thought or preparation.

      ‘policy was made on the hoof’
      • ‘He made up policies on the hoof with his spin doctors, sometimes minutes before appearing on television.’
      • ‘One Scottish advertising director, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘It really has been devised on the hoof.’’
      • ‘So rather than doing it on the hoof, as it were, perhaps your Lordships would be minded to adopt our suggestion.’
      • ‘Are we about to witness more policy made on the hoof, or is this merely evidence they are struggling to defend the indefensible against valid widespread public protest?’
      • ‘They were instead consummate opportunists, wily politicians who made up policy on the hoof.’
      • ‘It is worse when the government appears to make policy on the hoof.’
      • ‘If you're a struggling authority, you court further disaster if you try to make policy on the hoof.’
      • ‘But too often, he appears to be making up crime policy on the hoof, like his decision today to release hundreds of criminals early because the prisons are full.’
      • ‘Unfortunately they look set to continue the trend of setting parking policy on the hoof, in response to short-term financial pressures rather than in accordance with a long-term vision.’
      • ‘The spectacle of government policy being manufactured on the hoof left an indelible stain.’


Old English hōf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoef and German Huf.