Hokey-pokey, hokey-cokey and hokey-tokey

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The hokey-pokey is a circle dance performed to a song also called The Hokey-Pokey, it consists of various body parts being thrust in and out of the circle and shaken. There are various theories as to where the hokey-pokey originated. As far back as the late 1800s an ice cream confection was sold named Hokey Pokey. There has been some controversy claiming that the hokey-pokey was a song composed originally to mock the Catholic Mass. However, this is considered false, as the song and dance originated in the United Kingdom in 1942, written by Jimmy Kennedy and originally referred to as The Hokey-Cokey. Today, the same dance is referred to as the hokey-pokey in North America, Ireland and Australia, the hokey-cokey in the United Kingdom, and the hokey-tokey in New Zealand. Hokey-pokey is occasionally seen without the hyphen, as in hokey pokey, but the Oxford English Dictionary only recognizes the hyphenated form.


While Otto takes the scientific naming of the spiders seriously, some of their common names are a bit more fanciful, like hokey-pokey, sparklemuffin and skeletorus. (The Smithsonian Magazine)

The typical concert can include the Hokey-Pokey for kids as well as a parade of flag-carrying children who come up on stage while the national anthem is played. (The Houston Chronicle)

Nashville Sounds mascot Booster recently made the short flight to Lebanon to visit with children at Empower Me’s Summer Day Camp, joining in circle time and enjoying the hokey pokey, cha-cha slide, bear hunt and songs. (The Wilson Post)

STAFF and pupils at Grassington Primary School joined former teachers and pupils to remember a much-loved dinner lady – by doing the hokey-cokey. (The Craven Herald)

While others enjoy being instructed on how to do the hokey tokey in Maori, it seems like a way of subtly mocking tourists. (The Otago Daily Times)