Playing hooky

Playing hooky is serious busines, pic:

Playing hooky used to be for kids: when they secretly skipped school, that is not attended without a good reason, they played hooky.

It is used more broadly these days to include grown-ups as well, who stay away from work most likely pretending that they are sick or at least somebody in their family is sick.


“It’s great weather for swimming.  Let’s just play hooky  today and worry about school tomorrow.”

The origin of the phrase is unclear, several theories exist but nobody really knows.  I guess that leaves us free to pick whichever we like best :

to hook something is a slang term for stealing – so when playing hooky one steals some free time, a day off.  I sort of like that explanation.

The next one goes back to the 19th century when the phrase hooky-crooky was used for dishonest and underhanded.  Dishonest sounds a bit strong for skipping school – but other parents might feel more strongly about this than I do.

Another source claims it comes from the Dutch term hoekje which means hide and seek – that I like, too, it is a playful expression and brings back good childhood memories of skipped school days.


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