See also: host




Alteration of earlier hoise (to hoist), apparently based on the past tense forms, from Middle Dutch hisen (to hoist). Compare modern Dutch hijsen (to hoist), German hissen (to hoist), Danish hejse (to hoist). Compare also French hisser (to hoist), Italian issare (to hoist), Sicilian jisari (to hoist), all borrowed from a Germanic source.


  • IPA(key): /hɔɪst/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: hoist
  • Rhymes: -ɔɪst


hoist (third-person singular simple present hoists, present participle hoisting, simple past and past participle hoisted or hoist)

  1. (transitive) To raise; to lift; to elevate (especially, to raise or lift to a desired elevation, by means of tackle or pulley, said of a sail, a flag, a heavy package or weight).
    • 1725, Alexander Pope, The Odyssey, translation of original by Homer:
      They land my goods, and hoist my flying sails.
    • 1675 October 17, Robert South, “Sermon XI. Of the odious Sin of Ingratitude”, in Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, published 1866:
      [Abasalom's] ambition would needs be fingering the sceptre, and hoisting him into his father's throne
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe:
      [] but this last was so heavy, I could not hoist it up to get it over the ship's side.
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
      Between us, with much trouble, we managed to hoist him upstairs, and laid him on his bed, where his head fell back on the pillow, as if he were almost fainting.
  2. (transitive, sports, often figuratively) To lift a trophy or similar prize into the air in celebration of a victory.
    • 2011 October 23, Tom Fordyce, “2011 Rugby World Cup final: New Zealand 8-7 France”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      And when skipper Richie McCaw hoisted the Webb Ellis Trophy high into the night, a quarter of a century of hurt was blown away in an explosion of fireworks and cheering.
  3. (transitive, historical) To lift someone up to be flogged.
    • 1881, H.C. Leonard, A Translation of the Anglo-Saxon Version of St. Mark’s Gospel[2], page 83:
      Again Pilatus answered them, What shall I do to the Jew’s king? They again cried out and said, Hoist him! Then said Pilatus, What evil did he? They so much the more cried, Hoist him!
  4. (intransitive) To be lifted up.
  5. (transitive, computing theory) To extract (code) from a loop construct as part of optimization.
  6. (transitive, slang) To steal.
    • 2006, Margaret Atwood, The Tent:
      When you’ve reached neutral territory, when you’ve stashed the loot hoisted from the warlord’s mansion – well, he didn't have much use for it any more, did he?
  7. (transitive, slang) To rob.
    • 1948, Leslie Charteris, Saint Errant, page 103:
      Why, it was nothing to travel about the country with fifty grand worth of ice on me. Suppose I hadn’t packed a roscoe—hell, I’d of been hoisted once a week!

Usage notesEdit

  • "Hoisted" is about fifteen times more common than "hoist" in US usage as past and past participle. The "hoist" form is also uncommon in the UK except in the expression "hoist by one's own petard".

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


hoist (plural hoists)

  1. A hoisting device, such as pulley or crane.
  2. The act of hoisting; a lift.
    Give me a hoist over that wall.
  3. The perpendicular height of a flag, as opposed to the fly, or horizontal length, when flying from a staff.
  4. The vertical edge of a flag which is next to the staff.
  5. The height of a fore-and-aft sail, next the mast or stay.