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Hokey-pokey & Hanky Panky

Posted by James Briggs on September 18, 2004

In Reply to: Hokey-pokey posted by platypus on September 18, 2004

: : Could anyone tell me what "hokey-pokey" means?

: : -You can't play "hokey-pokey" with my husband.

: : =a children's dance? a hoax?

: : thanks

: The hokey-pokey is a children's game/dance. It goes like this:

: you put your left hand in, you put you left hand out, you do the hokey-pokey and you shake it all about, you do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around...that's what it's all about!!

: The dance continues with other body parts. Hokey-pokey with someone's spouse is the same as hanky-panky, fooling around.

To get up to some hanky panky implies some sort of underhand dealing or cheating. I can't find a certain origin, but the expression has been compared with Hocus Pocus, the start of a mock Latin phrase used by conjurers with the object of distracting the audience from any slight-of-hand. Our word Hoax is probably derived from this mock-Latin and Hanky panky possibly a variant.

See Hanky-panky - meaning and origin.