Definition of hoot in US English:



  • 1A deep or medium-pitched musical sound, often wavering or interrupted, that is the typical call of many kinds of owl.

    • ‘They live and travel in small groups, communicating and expressing their moods with a variety of hoots, grunts, roars, and screams.’
    • ‘The sky darkened, and mysterious howls and hoots came from every direction.’
    • ‘His 5 AM, noon, or midnight hoots coincided almost exactly with the passing of a Chicago police car.’
    • ‘We never tired of the stunning view, and at night the sky was full of stars, the lights twinkled from houses dotted among the trees and olive groves and the only sound was the strange hoot of the little Scops owls.’
    • ‘And the hoots and screeches they make while doing so are the most horrifying noises I've ever heard.’
    • ‘Although tawny owls are reputed to have a hoot, this one whistled, which is probably why it is often referred to in the books as a screech owl.’
    • ‘She heard the hoot of a night bird telling her it was nighttime.’
    • ‘The hair at the back of her head rose to its ends as she heard the noises of the cicadas, hoots of owls and soft hissing as she ambled along.’
    • ‘She heard cricket chirps, the occasional owl hoot, and the sound of a nearby raccoon.’
    • ‘The howls of the wolves and the hoots of owls were the only things that they heard.’
    • ‘I'm tired of their whistles and hoots and tweets.’
    • ‘He listened carefully, but only heard their footsteps, the light lapping of the water on the shore, and the screeching hoots and calls of any number of animals that lived in the Riverlands and the island.’
    • ‘The sounds merge with the occasional hoot of the Jungle Owlet.’
    • ‘Various yelps, hoots, screams, squawks, and other vocalizations are used by many species of primates and birds to herald the approach of predators to relatives and other members of the same species.’
    • ‘The night was still and no sound was heard, apart from the occasional hoot of the owl, the master of the shadows.’
    • ‘The animals of the desert call to each other, muffled hoots and howls in the darkness.’
    • ‘Silent at sea, these birds are the nosiest of the Auklets when in the breeding colonies, vocalizing with groans, low hoots, grunts, and barking calls.’
    • ‘The sound of crickets, mosquitoes, and the occasional hoot of an owl pierced the deafening silence.’
    • ‘A northerly wind rustled in her hair, carrying the sounds of the night, the hoots and calls of young and old birds alike, the guttural calls of larger animals.’
    • ‘Occasionally hoots, screams and other nocturnal noises interrupted our sleep.’
    cry, call, screech, tu-whit tu-whoo
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    1. 1.1 A raucous sound made by a horn, siren, or steam whistle.
      • ‘If I see anything, I have a list of people to ring around and they ring other people and alert people with hoots of their car horn.’
      • ‘It was only when Paisley caused merriment by referring to a hoot of the ship's horn as ‘the Pope blowing his nose’ that Reynolds made a break for it and ran for his life.’
      • ‘And even if they do stagger, it's just from the bar to their car, which deprives them of miles of good staggering, a fun game of hide and seek with your destination and the gleeful hoots of passing motorists.’
      • ‘He added that the police drivers are forced to use long hoots and use the siren unnecessarily to clear the traffic going in the front.’
      • ‘As copious steam clouds and sharp hoots pierce the morning calm, an air of excitement and expectation is palpable among those who have got into the coaches.’
      • ‘The procession made its lively way twice around the town, to the accompaniment of brass band music, the ear-splitting hoots of steam engines, The Velfrey Queen and Pride of Freystrop, and the applause of spectators.’
      • ‘There was the sound of thunder and of game shooting and the hoot and whistle of steam trains.’
      • ‘You're alerted to this fact by any one of a number of beeps, hoots and whistles, or by the more discreet vibrating option.’
      • ‘The song can sound like hoots and whistles, in a repeating pattern similar to that of a mockingbird or thrasher.’
      • ‘This must be one of the few parts of the world where wine, walking and sea air are bound up with the hoot of the whistle and the hiss of the brakes.’
      • ‘To shouts of ‘coward’ and the hoot of the hunting horn, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael arrived at Kendal on Friday to deliver a keynote speech on rural services.’
      blast, blare, sound, beep, meep, honk, toot
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    2. 1.2 A shout expressing scorn or disapproval.
      ‘there were hoots of derision’
      • ‘The moment Qambar's hard, sly face appeared on the screen, the gloomy living room lit up with hoots, howls, clapping and whistling.’
      • ‘There were hoots of mock derision and cries of joy in the Kobe Wing Stadium last night.’
      • ‘Tremblay urged him, questioning his honesty, to hoots and laughter.’
      • ‘There were various hoots and whistles as chairs were moved and people shifted around so the new pair could sit next to each other.’
      • ‘Her audience released a volley of claps, whistles and hoots.’
      • ‘A chorus of hoots greeted his attempt at solemnity.’
      • ‘There were a couple of hoots and whistles from the men in our squad, but she silenced them with a glare that could kill.’
      • ‘I turned away and hurried into the doctor's quarters to see Elizabeth, hoots and hollers echoing behind me.’
      • ‘Attempts to show that various inhumane practices are technically legal will be met by the hoots of outrage they deserve.’
      • ‘Suddenly, he heard hoots and whistles coming from the football table.’
      • ‘That produced catcalls, hoots, some lip-smacking noises, and a shouted request for a date.’
      • ‘That earned a round of hoots and a barrage of shirts and towels.’
      • ‘When finally they broke apart, a series of hoots and suggestive whistles drifted up from the rest of them (me excluded of course.)’
      • ‘And on those rare occasions when she attempts a one-liner, it is met with hoots of derision.’
      • ‘Without another word, she pulled open the classroom door, but before we could enter, a few hoots and howls drew our attention.’
      • ‘There are plenty of hoots and whistles, derision for the woman's coy smile and smeared-on lipstick.’
      • ‘There were a lot of hoots from the spectators which was making us nervous ’, the girls said.’
      • ‘From now on, any government urging military action for moral purpose will face hoots of derision and howls of scepticism.’
      • ‘All the audience broke into various hoots and gave her a standing ovation.’
      • ‘The gym erupted in yells and hoots and whistles.’
      shout, yell, cry, howl, scream, shriek, whoop, whistle
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    3. 1.3 A short outburst of laughter.
      ‘the audience broke into hoots of laughter’
      • ‘He went off in hoots of laughter again, while Mina crossed her arms and glowered at him.’
      • ‘This was greeted by hoots of laughter which, worryingly, seemed mostly to come from the seats behind him.’
      • ‘Grandma burst into hoots of laughter and we all stared at her, slightly disturbed.’
      • ‘There were hoots of laughter when the development was described as being 60 to 70 metres from the cliff edge.’
      • ‘‘The personal shoppers were fluttering around outside, petrified there would be some big debacle, but when she came out she was in hoots of laughter,’ says Gray.’
      • ‘Rolling her eyes, she complied, and then jumped through a number of metaphorical hoops for them, welcoming their applause and hoots of laughter when she screwed up particularly badly.’
      • ‘The remark, made to journalists in New Zealand, was greeted with hoots of laughter.’
      • ‘‘I was encouraged to consider a career in dietetics,’ she reveals with a hoot of laughter.’
      • ‘Kyle let out a hoot of laughter over Aiden's opinion.’
      • ‘When I mentioned the latest bad press, their reticence gave way to hoots of derisory laughter and genuine indignation.’
      • ‘Every lesson was like Russian roulette as students gingerly placed their bottoms onto their seats in case it finally gave up the ghost and left them sprawling on the floor to hoots of laughter.’
      • ‘There's a silence that I fill with hoots of laughter.’
      • ‘I laughed softly, but she bust out into full on hysterical fits of doubled-over, knee slapping hoots.’
      • ‘That brings hoots and teasing from all my friends around us of course.’
      • ‘As she spoke on the phone, a hoot of laughter erupted in the background.’
      • ‘Charles brought hoots of laughter when he told them a local man had attempted to sell him a shire horse.’
      • ‘The entire crowd burst into hoots of laughter and began to urge Faorin on.’
      • ‘I laughed again and glanced to my right where Thomas was sitting on his horse with a grin forming on his lips and he let out a hoot.’
      • ‘Why then is the President's proposal not met with hoots of derisive laughter, or perhaps with a grave suggestion that he be examined, so as to determine the cause of this delusional pattern of thought?’
      • ‘There are three shows, however, that make the best use of the new-sitcom style, and they don't require recorded hoots and hollers to prove they're funny.’
      guffaw, howl, hoot, shriek
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    4. 1.4a hootinformal An amusing situation or person.
      ‘your mom's a real hoot’
      • ‘While Grease doesn't rank as an all time favorite in the musical genre, it is a hoot.’
      • ‘There isn't much comedy in the film, unless you consider an actor walking around with a prosthetic penis a hoot.’
      • ‘Anyway, their excuse was that my behavior was becoming too erratic, which is a hoot since they know better than anyone that it's all part of the Plan.’
      • ‘Anytime Foley stumbles on-screen with a mustache on his baby face, it's a hoot.’
      • ‘Calgarians thought it was a hoot, and passers-by steadily erupted into laughter.’
      • ‘Kids find Carrey's manic high jinks a hoot, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas grossed $55 million on its first weekend.’
      • ‘The LSO / Michael Tilson Thomas version was a hoot and full of musical treasures.’
      • ‘The ‘Facial Aerobics’ skit was a hoot, while the beheading of a screaming woman was not.’
      amusing person, character, clown, somebody very funny
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[no object]
  • 1(of an owl) utter a hoot.

    • ‘The most important thing is that this is a place where you can still hear the owls hoot at night.’
    • ‘What I assumed were owls hooting through the trees turned out to be wolves.’
    • ‘The only sound to be heard was the quiet whistling of the wind through the trees and the occasional owl hooting somewhere off in the distance.’
    • ‘Then he hooted twice, and began to roll it up to fit perfectly inside the little metal tube, careful not to put dents in the side from his beak.’
    • ‘Usually Mr. Glinner found forests to be alive with activity; chirping crickets, hooting owls, hunting mountain lions, and hungry bears.’
    • ‘An owl hooted above us as we walked through the forest.’
    • ‘A owl hooted in the distance and the crickets chirruped.’
    • ‘An owl hooted softly, and Rick's nose caught the smell of honeysuckle.’
    • ‘As I padded gently through the crispy grass alongside Davis, I picked up on the sound of an owl hooting softly in the distance.’
    • ‘He stopped at the edge of the garden and waited for a few moments; an owl hooted in the forest and the man crouched low, swiftly crossing the short distance to the forest.’
    • ‘Owls hooted in the treetops, while other nocturnal animals came out to forage for food.’
    • ‘Somewhere an owl hooted, and Dwayn's face seemed to get a little redder in the night.’
    • ‘Crickets chirped, owls hooted, and cicadas caterwauled in screechy harmony.’
    • ‘In the distance, he could hear wolves barking, even closer, owls hooting.’
    • ‘Early Indian horror films tended to make use of creaking doors, hooting owls, whining dogs and howling winds - similar to the tools used by Britain's famed House of Hammer.’
    • ‘If we were seated around a fire and an owl hooted or a bush-baby cried in the dark, witchcraft was blamed and the narration of folk tales was abandoned.’
    • ‘A flock of owls swooped through her tower lands, hooting shrilly.’
    • ‘The odd flying fox glided over the valley and owls hooted in the distance.’
    • ‘An owl hooted somewhere on the edge of the woods surrounding the farm.’
    cry, call, utter a hoot, screech, tu-whit tu-whoo
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    1. 1.1 (with reference to a horn, siren, etc.) make or cause to make a hoot.
      • ‘Even prisoners going in and out of Strangeways have been banging on the van windows as they've passed by and we've had police cars and fire engines hooting us too.’
      • ‘One Saturday evening in Sao Tome town, quiet but for the odd hooting of horns from truck-loads of people going to a wedding reception, a group of lads beckoned me to join them on the street corner.’
      • ‘Can they recall the siren that called the men to work daily and hooted also to conclude the end of a day's work?’
      • ‘At Gore's residence in Washington DC, car horns hooted, signalling their approval of the decision as the vice president heard the news with his wife, Tipper.’
      • ‘Several members of staff at County Hall, one of them a cripple, had to scatter while crossing Penrhyn Road because a car, hooting loudly, was coming towards them at a fast pace.’
      • ‘In countries all around the world we hear the hooting of horns but have you ever stopped to think what it all means?’
      • ‘Have any of these people an idea how irritating and stressful the hooting of cars can be?’
      • ‘The Dr. turned on his electric train that beeped, whistled, hooted, and howled around the table.’
      • ‘A van and a car waiting behind me finally hooted with impatience so I grasped the wheel with both hands and slid between some cyclists, a Smart car, a Ford Focus, a moped and two pedestrians to the safety of the other side.’
      • ‘Horns hooting and cheers of joy filled the air in the popular fishing harbour, which has really been put on the map because of the Diva's success.’
      • ‘There has been a stream of people coming to stand on the picket, most cars hoot in solidarity against the war.’
      • ‘From a nearby station, arriving and departing trains hooted at regular intervals.’
      • ‘As the cavalcade of over 25 cars passed through Glenade that evening, the sheep in McGloin's meadow huddled together bewildered by the hooting horns and flashing lights.’
      • ‘While police presence was a deterrent to hooliganism at the beach or Island grounds where the trade fair is being held, the same could not be said about the MTC buses with footpath travel and it was a day of endless hooting of horns.’
      • ‘A very large number of followers attended both games and followed the winners in both games with horns hooting to Bunclody.’
      • ‘Fans had chanted Maradona's name while passing buses and cars had hooted their horns since his arrival.’
      • ‘In the narrow road, tut-tut taxis hooted at each other.’
      • ‘Passing cars hooted as the march wound its way around two blocks and back again.’
      • ‘Immediately after the match ended, hooting cars filled the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, a modern tradition whenever there is cause to celebrate.’
      • ‘I was interrupted by the hooting of a car, I turned trying to eye up the cars speculatively.’
      sound, blare, blast, beep, honk, toot, make a loud sound
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    2. 1.2 (of a person) make loud sounds of scorn, disapproval, or merriment.
      ‘she began to hoot with laughter’
      • ‘The crowd was on its feet hooting and yelling about it.’
      • ‘Anyway, she told this joke that I thought was so funny I hooted with laughter, which was quite embarrassing as the rest of the audience only tittered politely.’
      • ‘We know precisely why most people will wish to see it, and it has a whole lot more to do with urges to hoot and jeer and taunt than with any sober discharging of civil responsibilities.’
      • ‘Captain Ed, J. B. Doubtless and I all hooted at that scenario.’
      • ‘And the audience claps and hoots instinctively every time such muscle-flexing occurs.’
      • ‘Moving to the rhythm, Jason starting dancing in a slow sexy way; this made Rebecca and Kale hoot and laugh even more.’
      • ‘The entire class hooted with laughter, and poor Mr Abbott just looked a bit confused.’
      • ‘French fans hooted at her again on Thursday when she questioned calls or bounced her racquet in frustration.’
      • ‘‘We hooted with laughter,’ says 17-year-old Ross Archibald.’
      • ‘They screamed, jeered and hooted at the screen.’
      • ‘Landon slapped his knee and hooted with laughter.’
      • ‘Audiences in Bombay's derelict Art-Deco cinema halls often hoot and whistle when their hero vanquishes a villain.’
      • ‘The whole group hooted and cheered loudly, the guys were whooping at Cindy.’
      • ‘Why should I care if your wife hoots in derision at my sock-clad feet?’
      • ‘We're shrieking and yelling and hooting and clapping and stomping - telling this man just how much we love him.’
      • ‘It always made Norman hoot with laughter no matter how many times I read it.’
      • ‘In response, the crowd cheered and at times even hooted its approval.’
      • ‘Please read the article while endeavoring not to laugh, chortle, snicker, hoot or whistle.’
      • ‘They started whistling and hooting and yelling at me in Spanish.’
      • ‘Her friends started clapping loudly, hooting and hollering as Scarlet just blushed.’
      shout, yell, cry, howl, scream, shriek, whoop, whistle
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    3. 1.3hoot something downwith object Express loud scornful disapproval of something.
      ‘his questions were hooted down or answered obscenely’
      • ‘Somebody came up with this at a brainstorming meeting and nobody else had the good sense to hoot it down then.’
      • ‘As a result it appeared that we were somehow forcing the proposal down their throats, and members hooted it down.’
      • ‘Some thirty years ago when I suggested at Boeing that software should be distributed in source-code form, the idea was hooted down and rejected out of hand.’
      • ‘Aircraft altitude and noise control measures were brought to the City Council, although the audience hooted it down and the resolution was not adopted.’
      • ‘Why should we not apply this argument to the idiosyncrasy of a nation, and pause in our haste to hoot it down?’
      • ‘When they tried to speak, however, the crowd hooted them down with cries of ‘We want Teddy’'.’
      • ‘Lots of advertisers, I predict, will buy time and space from YouTube, only to have users hoot it down.’


  • not care (or give) a hoot (or two hoots)

    • informal Not care at all.

      • ‘Families claimed that the council didn't give two hoots for their rubbish-strewn neighbourhood.’
      • ‘‘I don't give two hoots if something is authentic or experimental, as long as it tastes good,’ asserts Barbara Tropp.’
      • ‘If people are not happy with that, I don't give two hoots.’
      • ‘I don't give two hoots what colour the British are, I care only that they subscribe to British values.’
      • ‘I'm the kind of guy who can like an actor like Charlton Heston on screen and not give a hoot if he's also a right wing gun nut on the side.’
      • ‘Ninety percent of people here don't give two hoots.’
      • ‘He recently told the Telegraph, ‘I have never given two hoots what people I don't know and don't respect have to say about me.’’
      • ‘Of course, powerful white guys in suits don't give two hoots about obscure countries with exotic-sounding names unless there's a buck to be made.’
      • ‘If you don't care a hoot, then you don't want to know.’
      • ‘There are some people who don't give two hoots about the welfare of wildlife around the country.’
      care, be concerned, mind, be bothered, be interested
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Middle English (in the sense ‘make sounds of derision’): perhaps imitative.