from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Informal Absence without leave; truancy: play hooky from school.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Absence from school or work.
  • adj. Full of hooks.
  • adj. Shaped like a hook.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Full of hooks; pertaining to hooks.
  • n. A word used only in the expression to play hooky, to be truant, to run away; -- used mostly of youths absent from school without a valid reason and without the knowledge of their parents. Also (figuratively and jocosely), to be absent from duty for frivolous reasons.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Full of hooks; pertaining to hooks.
  • Given to hooking: as, a hooky cow.
  • Hooked.
  • n. A pupil absent from school without leave; a truant: only in the phrase to play hooky, equivalent to to play truant. Also hookey.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. failure to attend (especially school)


Perhaps from hook it, to make off.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • I must confess that I came away feeling a bit ashamed to be a member of the media and journalism tribe (even as I played hooky from the Online News Association's annual confab uptown).

    Jeff Jarvis: To Rally, Perchance to Dream

  • We've got footage of a mountain lion attacking a doe, a sea-lion on the interstate, and the best lies to use for playing hooky from the office.

    Best of the Boards: Week In Review

  • Playing hooky, in other words, sits on a paradox in which you are parent and child at the same time.


  • A Republican state lawmaker from Baytown has filed a bill that would charge parents of public school students with a Class C misdemeanor and fine them for playing hooky from a scheduled parent-teacher conference.

    Archive 2007-01-28

  • Gruden playing hooky is more about getting a day away from the endless "so what will it be like to play your old team?" questions then it is about schooling his former assistant. - Super storylines abound in Super Bowl

  • Had not read this in decades and was struck by how it was not "hooky" or "elevator pitch-able" or anything like that.

    mrissa: Books read, early June

  • I played "hooky" with my soon to be thirteen-year old daughter.

    James M. Lynch: 5 Tips for Budgeting Time

  • To finish up the day I played "hooky" from work today as I was a bit under the weather with a stomach virus I listened to some of my favorite podcasts from the University of Houston in a series called "Engines of Our Ingenuity".

    Books, Movies, and Coincidence

  • After reading the first posted hooks, I panicked and took out the vital decision part because it didn't sound 'hooky' enough: save a bully's family at the risk of losing her soul mate or deny her visions and secure her own happiness.

    HH Com 641

  • To wit: go for it, especially since your writerly heart tells you this opening sex scene lends structural integrity to the story as a whole, beyond mere "hooky" but otherwise peripheral titillation value.

    Miss Snark feels sexually harrassed...sadly Mr. Clooney is nowhere to be found

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