AskDefine | Define hoof

Dictionary Definition



1 the foot of an ungulate mammal
2 the horny covering of the end of the foot in hoofed mammals


1 walk; "let's hoof it to the disco" [syn: foot, leg it, hoof it]
2 dance in a professional capacity [also: hooves (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English hōf


  • /hʊf/ or , /hUf/ or /hu:f/
  • Rhymes: -ʊf, -uːf


  1. The foot of an animal such as a horse, ox or deer.
  2. The human foot.


foot of an animal:
  • Albanian: thundër
  • Basque: apo
  • Catalan: peülla
  • Croatian: kopito
  • Czech: kopyto
  • Danish: hov
  • Dutch: hoef
  • Esperanto: hufo
  • Faroese: hógvur
  • Finnish: kavio
  • French: sabot
  • trreq Galician
  • German: Huf
  • trreq Hebrew
  • Hungarian: pata
  • Italian: zoccolo
  • Japanese: 蹄
  • Korean: (gub, gup)
  • Kurdish: sim
  • Norwegian: hov
  • Polish: kopyto
  • Portuguese: casco, pata, pezunho
  • Russian: копыто
  • Slovene: kopito
  • Spanish: pezuña, casco
  • Turkish: tırnak (lit., nail; to express the hoof of a particular animal, give the animal's name first, then tırnağı: e.g., cow hoof = inek tırnağı)


  1. To trample with hooves.
  2. To walk.
  3. To dance, especially as a professional.

Extensive Definition

A hoof ( or /hʊf/, plural hooves /huːvz/, or hoofs /hʊfs/) is the tip of a toe of an ungulate mammal, strengthened by a thick horny (keratin) covering. The hoof consists of a hard or rubbery sole, and a hard wall formed by a thick nail rolled around the tip of the toe. The weight of the animal is normally borne by both the sole and the edge of the hoof wall. Hooves grow continuously, and are constantly worn down by use.
Most even-toed ungulates (such as sheep, goats, deer, cattle, bison, and pigs) have two main hooves on each foot, together called a cloven hoof. Most cloven-hoofed animals also have two smaller hoofs called dew-claws a little further up the leg – these are not normally used for walking, but in some species with larger dew-claws (such as deer or pigs) they may touch the ground when running or jumping, or if the ground is soft. Other cloven-hoofed animals (such as giraffes and pronghorns) have no dew claws. In some so-called "cloven-hoofed" animals such as camels, there are no hooves proper – the toe is softer, and the hoof itself is reduced to little more than a nail.
Some odd-toed ungulates (horses) have one hoof on each foot; others (including rhinoceroses, tapirs and many extinct species) have three hoofed or heavily nailed toes. The tapir is a special case, with three toes on each hind foot and four toes on each front foot.
The number of toes is considered in determining the kosher status of the animal's flesh.

See also

hoof in Catalan: Peülla
hoof in German: Huf
hoof in Spanish: Pezuña
hoof in Esperanto: Hufo
hoof in French: Sabot (ongle)
hoof in Dutch: Hoef (dier)
hoof in Japanese: 蹄
hoof in Narom: Chavette
hoof in Polish: Kopyto (zoologia)
hoof in Russian: Копыто
hoof in Serbian: Копито
hoof in Telugu: గిట్ట
hoof in Chinese: 蹄

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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