hoof / hoŏf; hoōf/ • n. (pl. hoofs or hooves / hoŏvz; hoōvz/ ) the horny part of the foot of an ungulate animal, esp. a horse: there was a clatter of hoofs as a rider came up to them. • v. [tr.] inf. (hoof it) go on foot: it was awfully hot, but we hoofed it all the way back. ∎ dance: we hoof it reasonably fancily, and no one guffaws. PHRASES: on the hoof 1. (of livestock) not yet slaughtered. 2. inf. without great thought or preparation: policy was made on the hoof. DERIVATIVES: hoofed adj.