Definition of hokey-pokey in English:



  • 1the hokey-pokeyUS A group dance performed in a circle with a synchronized shaking of the limbs in turn, accompanied by a simple song.

    British term hokey-cokey

    ‘I'm the typical American white guy, so watching me dance is like seeing the Pillsbury Doughboy doing the hokey-pokey.’
    • ‘We learn the hokey pokey when we're kids and as we become adults, we learn the latest crazes.’
    • ‘Try dancing with your children. Do the Hokey Pokey, the bunny hop and such.’
    • ‘It's the only hospital with a built-in bar, but surely having some kind of entertainment that doesn't involve game shows and the weekly hokey-pokey is a good idea whose time has come.’
    • ‘And then Zeek looked at me with his lovely lagoon eyes, and just as I was about to accept, I remembered that the only dance I could dance was the hokey-pokey.’
  • 2US informal Deception; trickery.

    • ‘There was something kind of psychic about him, almost supernatural, and it was no surprise when I found out he was into that hokey-pokey and read a lot about magic and mysticism.’
  • 3 Trademark Ice cream of a kind formerly sold on the street, especially by Italian street vendors.

    • ‘she got me a double cone of hokey-pokey’



/ˈhōkēˈpōkē/ /ˈhoʊkiˈpoʊki/


Late 19th century (in sense ‘deception, trickery’): perhaps from hocus-pocus.