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Playing hooky

July 30, 2012 - Jodelle Greiner
Anybody else want to play hooky from work today? I sure do! It’s a perfect day to do it, too. The weather is nice: sunshine and a little breeze.

By the way, anybody know where the term “playing hooky” came from?

When it doubt, look it up on This is what had to say:

“No one is quite sure about the origin of the phrase ‘playing hooky.’ We consulted the top three online word sleuths and found a number of intriguing explanations.

“• The Phrase Finder offers a few possible origins, including ‘to hook it’ or ‘to escape or make off.’ To ‘hook something’ is also an old slang term for stealing, as in ‘stealing a day off.’

“• The Word Detective dates the first printed use of the phrase to 1848 and relates it to the 19th-century phrase ‘hooky-crooky,’ which means ‘dishonest or underhanded.’ The parent of this phrase is ‘by hook or by crook,’ meaning ‘by any means necessary.’

“• Word Origins suggests that the phrase comes from hoekje, the Dutch name for hide and seek.”

Be careful: Phrases go in and out of style and “playing hooky” is being replaced. says kids prefer the phrase “cutting school”, so if you ask them about playing hooky, you might get the old universal eye-roll.


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