AskDefine | Define hooves

Dictionary Definition



1 the foot of an ungulate mammal
2 the horny covering of the end of the foot in hoofed mammals


1 walk; "let's hoof it to the disco" [syn: foot, leg it, hoof it]
2 dance in a professional capacity [also: hooves (pl)]hooves See hoof

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Plural of hoof

Extensive Definition

A hoof ( or /hʊf/, plural hooves /huːvz/, or hoofs /hʊfs/) is the tip of a toe of an ungulate mammal, strengthened by a thick horny (keratin) covering. The hoof consists of a hard or rubbery sole, and a hard wall formed by a thick nail rolled around the tip of the toe. The weight of the animal is normally borne by both the sole and the edge of the hoof wall. Hooves grow continuously, and are constantly worn down by use.
Most even-toed ungulates (such as sheep, goats, deer, cattle, bison, and pigs) have two main hooves on each foot, together called a cloven hoof. Most cloven-hoofed animals also have two smaller hoofs called dew-claws a little further up the leg – these are not normally used for walking, but in some species with larger dew-claws (such as deer or pigs) they may touch the ground when running or jumping, or if the ground is soft. Other cloven-hoofed animals (such as giraffes and pronghorns) have no dew claws. In some so-called "cloven-hoofed" animals such as camels, there are no hooves proper – the toe is softer, and the hoof itself is reduced to little more than a nail.
Some odd-toed ungulates (horses) have one hoof on each foot; others (including rhinoceroses, tapirs and many extinct species) have three hoofed or heavily nailed toes. The tapir is a special case, with three toes on each hind foot and four toes on each front foot.
The number of toes is considered in determining the kosher status of the animal's flesh.

See also

hooves in Catalan: Peülla
hooves in German: Huf
hooves in Spanish: Pezuña
hooves in Esperanto: Hufo
hooves in French: Sabot (ongle)
hooves in Dutch: Hoef (dier)
hooves in Japanese: 蹄
hooves in Narom: Chavette
hooves in Polish: Kopyto (zoologia)
hooves in Russian: Копыто
hooves in Serbian: Копито
hooves in Telugu: గిట్ట
hooves in Chinese: 蹄
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