Definition of hoop in US English:



  • 1A circular band of metal, wood, or similar material, especially one used for binding the staves of barrels or forming part of a framework.

    • ‘One drill involves players running around a giant hoop to work on their footwork and simulate the angle it usually takes to get into the backfield.’
    • ‘Arriva, unlike many train operators, is keeping litter bins on stations, but is using plastic bags held in a metal hoop, rather than metal bins.’
    • ‘She toyed with an oversized hoop of tarnished silver around her wrist.’
    • ‘All edges will meet properly and the barrel will hold liquid without any agent other than the hoops which hold the staves together.’
    • ‘He was wearing silver hoops in both ears and spoke in a deep voice.’
    • ‘In the eighteenth century, wooden barrels were assembled out of individual staves and hoops, with no two barrels being identical.’
    • ‘Cover earliest plants with sheet plastic stretched over hoops to boost warmth early in the season and prevent frost damage.’
    • ‘A large, empty, porcelain basin and pitcher sat on his bedside table for washing his face, along with a white towel, folded through a brass hoop hanging on the wall.’
    • ‘Tests showed that the precious metals covered a hoop of base metal.’
    • ‘Buckets, barrels and tubs were made from planks of wood bound with metal or withy hoops.’
    • ‘‘We have been dropping processed products from the menu for the last couple of years,’ said Amanda, whose first step when she took over two years ago was to ban spaghetti hoops.’
    • ‘The canopy's rose-colored silk gauze panels flow from a circular hoop with a rainbow-colored silk top, secured with roses and pink ribbon streamers.’
    • ‘All that was left was a heap of metal hoops from the casks.’
    • ‘Two hoops of ebony wood hung from her ears, dangling just above the level of her chin.’
    • ‘She said: ‘The wind was so strong that it blew some of the aluminium hoops out of the framework and bent them double.’’
    ring, band, circle, circlet, loop, wheel, round, girdle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An earring in the form of a circular band of metal or other material.
      ‘a pair of plain gold hoops’
      • ‘He had large hoop earrings in each ear and wore dark clothing.’
      • ‘Meyer, a natural showman who sported a silver hoop in his left ear, became a frequent guest on television documentaries.’
      • ‘Most of the men just had a hoop in one ear.’
      • ‘She wore a belted black leather coat and small, tasteful gold hoops in her ears.’
      • ‘It was all black clothes, leathery faces and gold hoop earrings with them, I noted.’
      • ‘Large gold hoops dangled from her ears to tangle in her unruly hair.’
      • ‘Kara shook her head, the silver hoop earrings she wore jangling merrily.’
      • ‘Tiffany wore huge silver hoops in her ears and had plum lipstick smeared over her lips.’
      • ‘Oversized silver hoops dangled from her ears, glinting softly in the light from the Corvette.’
    2. 1.2 The round metal rim from which a basketball net is suspended.
      • ‘But when I got there and saw the basketball hoops, it reminded me of the times when my friends Darlene, Lana and I used to play together.’
      • ‘The other good bit of news is that the family that is buying our house does want to keep the basketball hoop in the back yard.’
      • ‘With a two-step hop, he launched himself towards the hoop and put the ball in, with ease.’
      • ‘How high is it from the floor to the bottom of the backboard on a regulation basketball hoop?’
      • ‘I jumped up high and the basketball slammed through the hoop.’
      • ‘The roar of the crowd was gratifying as the ball soared through the hoop, upping the score to 90-59 in our favor.’
      • ‘I still wanted to prove to myself that I could throw a basketball through the hoop, though.’
      • ‘You have at least a chance of getting the ball through the hoop, right?’
      • ‘Down the hall she could hear sounds of basketballs hitting the hoop and sneakers squeaking on the waxed wooden floor.’
      • ‘Then, he began tossing the ball into the hoop from every possible position on the court.’
      • ‘Kyle stood in the park, absently throwing a basketball at the hoop.’
      • ‘The ball went in the hoop without touching the board, or the ring.’
      • ‘It swirled around the ring before gracefully dropping into the hoop.’
    3. 1.3hoopsinformal The game of basketball.
      • ‘College hoops is a big-time spectator sport with a lucrative TV deal.’
      • ‘It's a bit silly to toss off phrases like ‘historic occasion’ when you're opening up a few square yards of painted concrete for a game of hoops.’
      • ‘Just because someone played hoops doesn't mean they're qualified to be a commentator.’
      • ‘In the offseason, Peppers gave up hoops to focus on football.’
      • ‘But the uncertainty didn't stop him from playing hoops at every chance he got.’
      • ‘Ever tried to play hoops with an underinflated ball?’
      • ‘I would play golf every day if I had the time, and I love to play hoops and football with my boys.’
      • ‘Merriman played high school hoops with Arrington's brother.’
      • ‘How would you compare the popularity of hoops in Europe to football?’
      • ‘George set up his camera to shoot himself playing hoops outside his school.’
    4. 1.4 (in the past) a toy in the form of a large circular band of wood, rolled along the ground with a stick.
      • ‘We used to have freedom and play in the fields with traditional toys such as hoops, a top and whip and marbles.’
      • ‘Above the fountain, one can see an eroded relief of a seated girl and a boy standing with a hoop and rod.’
      • ‘He laughed, ‘I would do many things for her, but playing with dolls and hoops is not one of them.’’
    5. 1.5
      ‘spin the hoop around your waist or around your hips’
      short for hula hoop
      • ‘Ten young performers with hoops draped around their small frames formed a circle and danced around the award-winning Grey Buffalo Singers.’
      • ‘Spin the hoop around and vigorously shake your hips.’
      • ‘They learn to spin the hoop around their knees, to get it back up to their waists, to spin around their chests, necks and above their heads.’
      • ‘But can gyrating a day-glo hoop around the middle really give you a waspish waist?’
    6. 1.6 A large ring for circus performers to jump through.
      • ‘Sometimes the cats execute jumps, skips, and turns, or leap through flaming hoops, eliciting ooohs and aaahs from the packed circle of onlookers.’
      • ‘A big cat leaps through a flaming hoop, but not without snarling menacingly.’
      • ‘She jumped through the hoop, rolled over and did a back flip.’
      • ‘It's amazing how the tiger can jump through flaming hoops, how the bear can ride a motorcycle and how the lion can walk on a tightrope.’
    7. 1.7historical A circle of flexible material used for expanding a woman's petticoat or skirt.
      • ‘Such gowns, by the late 1850s, had hoops, wire contraptions which replaced the multitude of petticoats and which caused women's dresses to billow out even further.’
      • ‘Women's underclothes are so much simpler than they used to be - no lacings, no tiny buttons and hooks, no hoops and petticoats.’
      • ‘This will add lots of volume to your skirt, without using boned hoops.’
    8. 1.8British A croquet wicket.
      • ‘As the little ball rolled through the hoop in front of it, Isabel giggled with Christine in delight.’
      • ‘Croquet mallets and hoops wait on the lawn for those who want some pre-lunch exercise, while immaculately attired staff help you choose from the extensive menu of both Malaysian and Western cuisine.’
      • ‘Hoops will generally come in sets of 6, being the number on a standard croquet lawn.’
      • ‘Games would normally involve only one ball which would be struck through very wide hoops.’


[with object]
  • Bind or encircle with or as with hoops.

    • ‘The children also took part in Victorian pastimes such as Throw the Horseshoe, a coconut shy, a tin can alley, marbles and hoop the duck.’
    • ‘I did all kinds of jobs for myself, from mending a pair of boots to hooping a barrel.’
    • ‘For proper placement, hoop and stitch the design before cutting the rectangle.’
    • ‘After the fabric is hooped, the hoop can be attached to an embroidery machine for stitching.’


  • shoot hoops

    • informal Play basketball.

      • ‘Being home was better than being at school; at home I could mess around in my front yard and shoot hoops.’
      • ‘They were watching a dark-haired girl shoot hoops and catch rebounds with her eyes closed.’
      • ‘Young basketball players can shoot hoops to their hearts' content at this year's Yorkshire International Basketball Camp.’
      • ‘He took the basketball from the garage and began to shoot hoops.’
      • ‘I had called my oldest friend, Zack, earlier to see if he wanted to go down the park and shoot hoops or something.’
      • ‘She used to lift weights and shoot hoops with her father, but today running, yoga and a vegan diet help keep her grounded and fit while touring the world.’
      • ‘Before he was famous, Nick and I used to shoot hoops together quite a bit.’
      • ‘Most important, get out there yourself - shoot hoops, play catch, roller-skate or learn to snowboard together.’
      • ‘Stella watched them shoot hoops for a while before remembering something.’
      • ‘Then we'd head out onto the driveway and shoot hoops until lunch.’


Late Old English hōp, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoep.