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Hokey Pokey, Hokey-Cokey & Hanky Panky... hook(e)y?

Posted by TheFallen on September 19, 2004

In Reply to: Hokey-pokey & Hanky Panky posted by James Briggs on September 18, 2004

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

: : : -You can't play "hokey-pokey" wiht 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.

The dance is the Hokey Cokey - don't ask me why.

Hokey Pokey and Hanky Panky seem to be largely synonymous - I fully buy into James's "hocus pocus" derivation.

Similarly, or maybe not, we here in the UK have a slang adjective "hooky", used for goods or products that are either counterfeit, stolen, illegally imported or not legitimate in some other way. I'm aware of the US term "playing hookey" for truancy, and wonder if the two terms are connected, or indeed if there's a connection with hokey/hanky/hocus.

See Hanky-panky - meaning and origin.