Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hoof n.

1. the human foot.

[UK]Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor I iii: Trudge, plod away o’ the hoof; seeke shelter, packe.
[UK]Dekker Belman of London B4: They [...] trauell upon the hard hoofe, from village to village for cheese and butter-milk.
[UK]J. Taylor Laugh and Be Fat 3: I could make neerer proofes, / And not (like you) so farre to gall my hoofes.
[UK]‘R.M.’ Scarronides 31: Quoth she, what serves the mat at door, But for to wipe your hoofes before You enter in.
[UK] ‘The Potato Man’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 55: A pair of large wedges on my hoofs, / And an oil skin round my hat.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 52: One, propelled by the sinnewy hoof of Brian Boru, fell.
[UK]J. Grant Sketches in London 213: He again put both his ugly hoofs on it.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 62: Like the rank sweaty hoofs, of a donna who drinks.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 382: The men were silent as ghosts [...] They ‘muffled the hoof’ with list slippers.
[UK]J. Greenwood Unsentimental Journeys 230: P’raps you’ll be so perlite as not to scrounge, and to take your hoofs off my toes.
[UK]The Tailors’ Strike in Darkey Drama 5 34: dr. s.: Don’t you tink a man’s got feet! zip: I calls dem hoofs!
[US]St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: In reference to his feet [...] the loquacious fault-finder thinks he never saw such ‘hoofs,’ and asks if his friend did not have to hire a derrick to hoist his ‘flat-boats’ after they were once constructed.
[US]J.F. Macardle Moko Marionettes 4: Dat hoof awoke me!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 July 9/2: It is the girl with the great, flat, spodgy hoof who makes home happy and contented and clings to a fellow through good and evil fortune.
[US]Cape Girardeau Democrat (MO) 5 May 7/2: I looses my balance and goes hoofs over elbows, kerplunk!
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 16 June 1/1: A North fremantle head of department put his hoof into things in Melbourne recently.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer 18 May in Fleming Unforgettable Season (1981) 70: The Captain’s generous hoof, hot from its fast trip around the sacks.
[UK]E. Pugh Harry The Cockney 247: I’ll hurt you, my son, if you don’t take your wet hoof off my sock!
[US]‘Lord Ballyrot in Slangland’ in Tacoma Times (WA) 8 Jan. 4/4: I’ve only got two hoofs, you know and I hate to wear ’em out .
[US]E. Booth Stealing Through Life 180: Stick yore hoof up here.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 127: Here and there a door opens and a hand yanks him, or a hoof pushes him out.
[US]J. Evans Halo in Blood (1988) 21: Now kind of take your goddam hoof to hell off my fender.
[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 7: Mind you don’t put the big awkward hooves on one of them chickens that’s under you.
[NZ]N. Hilliard Maori Girl 99: Keep your hoofs to yourself or you’ll cop one smartly.
[US]T. Berger Sneaky People (1980) 217: The whole hoof was red and puffy from its hours of confinement in a shoe one size too small.
[UK]P.T. Barker Blow Your House Down 113: Every time the poor old bitch tried to get out Gloria plants her hoof between the old girl’s tits and shoves her back again.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Cartoon City 54: I was dancing earlier. I think someone reefed a lump out of my hoof.
[US]T. Dorsey Hurricane Punch 9: ‘Watch your hooves.’ The reporter looked down.

2. a shoe.

[US]Current Sl. IV:1.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 3: hooves – shoes, boots.
[UK]J. Baker Chinese Girl (2001) 12: He took her purple DMs and put them in a Tesco carrier bag on the top shelf [...] She wouldn’t go far without her hooves.

In compounds

hoof gear (n.)

(Aus.) a boot or shoe.

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 6 Apr. 5/4: When Ada saw the mater stoushed; she picked up a boot and hurled it at Mary’s brain box. Strange to say, the ‘hoof gear’ got right home on the mark, but Mary wasn’t discouraged or scared by any means.

In phrases

beat the hoof (v.) (also beat it (up)on the hoof)

to walk.

[UK]J. Howell Familiar Letters (1737) I 1 May 39: The Secretary was put to beat the hoof himself, and foot it home.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 59: Beating the hoof we overtook a Cart.
[UK]T. Brown Saints in Uproar in Works (1760) I 78: We beat the hoofs as pilgrims.
[UK]J. Eachard (trans.) Plautus’s Amphitryon I i: Well, I’ll beat it back upo’ the Hoof to my Lord.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: Beat it on the hoof to walk on Foot.
[UK]Dyche & Pardon New General Eng. Dict. n.p.: To beat the Hoof To walk much up and down, to go a-foot.
[UK]Dyche & Pardon New General Eng. Dict. (4th edn).
[UK]Foote Author in Works (1799) I 127: He beats the hoof and you are set astride; / Sirrah! get down, and let your father ride.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
H. Lemoine ‘Education’ in Attic Misc. 116: For Dick had beat the hoof upon the pad.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Subjects for Painters’ Works (1794) II 266: So social were we together, And beat the hoof in ev’ry weather.
[UK]B.H. Malkin (trans.) Adventures of Gil Blas (1822) III 241: There had I to beat the hoof so long, that I began to suspect our forward sprig of royalty had gone another way.
[UK]J. & H. Smith ‘The Baronet’s Yacht’ Horace in London 24: When hostile squadrons beat the hoof [F&H].
[UK] ‘Sonnets for the Fancy’ Egan Boxiana III 622: [as 1791].
[UK]‘Dick Hellfinch’ in Rummy Cove’s Delight in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 105: [as 1791].
drag a hoof (v.)

(US) to dance, to go dancing.

News-Chron. (Shippenberg, PA) 29 Oct. 4/3: Dragged a hoof myself last night. Had to take a spare tire. She surely is a flat .
gad the hoof (v.)

to walk without shoes.

[UK]H. Brandon Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 168: Shallow fellows gad the hoof, and fence their cant of togs.
[UK]G.M.W. Reynolds Mysteries of London III 66/1: Tim put on the tats yesterday, and went out a durry-nakin on the shallows, gadding the hoof.
[UK]J. Archbold Magistrate’s Assistant (3rd edn) 447: Going without shoes, gadding the hoof.
[Aus] gloss. in Occurence Book of York River Lockup in Seal (1999) 38: I am gadding the hoof but quick, be a duffer now on the square.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
get the hoof (v.)

to be thrown out, either of a place or of one’s employment.

[UK]W.L. George Making of an Englishman I 95: If that’s the way they do it in Border I’m not surprised you got the hoof.
[Ire]Joyce Finnegans Wake (1959) 156: The loggerthuds of his sakellaries were fond at variance with the synodals of his somepooliom and his babskissed nepogreasymost got the hoof from his philioquus .
on the hoof

1. in existence.

[US]H. Asbury Gangs of Chicago (2002) 54: Long John Wentworth — three hundred pounds on the hoof and six feet and seven inches in his socks.
[US](con. 1950s) J. Peacock Valhalla 36: ‘Dollies on the hoof,’ Dallas grinned.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 20: It’s when you have egos like Jack’s on the hoof that you get a breakdown in law and order.
[US]S. King Christine 536: And Mrs Sykes, nearly three hundred pounds on the hoof in a faded housedress.
[US]T. Jones Pugilist at Rest 229: She ain’t seen a real one on the hoof probably for some time.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 285: As long as Cyrus White stays a mystery, he’s our aquittal on the hoof.

2. passing by, casual.

[US]W. N. Burns One-Way Ride 21: He bought his girls by the dozen – in load lots – on the hoof.
[UK]K. Amis letter 24 Sept. in Leader (2000) 579: The cabaret led off with the introduction of a pretty girl with just about the gig frig biggest tits I’ve ever seen on the hoof.
[Aus]D. Ireland Burn 104: I don’ wanna get married. I’ll catch mine on the hoof.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 27 Nov. 8: He made it seem as if the poems were being written on the hoof, that he was thinking slightly uncertainly.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 14 Jan. 1: A good impression of life caught on the hoof.
take it on the hoof (v.)

(US) to run off, to leave quickly.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 84: He’s either full of truth serum or he escaped from some booby hatch — let’s take it on the hoof before he begins to rave.
throw hoofs after hide (v.)

(Aus.) to commit oneself completely (if foolishly).

[Aus]Aus. Town & Country Jrnl 3 Oct. 19/1: A district in which I am certain of work has more than once caused me to throw hoofs after hide and ‘blue my last tanner’ on a ‘long-sleever’.