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Etymology 1[edit]

A caricature of the English comedian Arthur Roberts, who coined the word spoof, on the cover of a piece of sheet music[1]

Coined by the English comedian Arthur Roberts (1852–1933) in 1884 as the name of a card game involving deception and nonsense.[2][3][4]



spoof (countable and uncountable, plural spoofs)

  1. (countable) An act of deception; a hoax; a joking prank. [from 1889]
    • 1906, George Ade, “What One Man Picked Up in London and Sent Back to His Brother”, in In Pastures New, Toronto, Ont.: The Musson Book Company, →OCLC, pages 76–77:
      “Rahther, I say. But you understand, of course, that I’m giving him a bit of spoof.” / “A bit of what?” / “Spoofspoof. Is it possible that you have been here since Saturday without learning what ‘spoof’ means? It means to chaff, to joke. In the States the slang equivalent would be ‘to string’ someone.” / “How did you learn it?” / “A cabby told me about it. I started to have some fun with him, and he told me to ‘give over on the spoof.’ []
  2. (countable) A light parody. [from 1958]
    • 1999 August, Stanley Green, Elaine Schmidt, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, in Hollywood Musicals Year by Year, 2nd edition, Milwaukee, Wis.: Hal Leonard Corporation, →ISBN, page 177:
      On Broadway, where it opened in 1949, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was a spoof of the madcap Twenties which gave Carol Channing her first starring role; on the screen, it was an up-to-date spoof of sex which gave Marilyn Monroe her first starring role in a musical.
    • 2003, Margo Daly, Anne Dehne, David Leffman, Chris Scott, “New South Wales and ACT”, in The Rough Guide to Australia, 6th edition, New York, N.Y., London: Rough Guides, →ISBN, pages 330–331:
      The final piece of the country puzzle is found at the corner of Brisbane Street and Kable Avenue, where the Hands of Fame cornerstone bears the palm-prints of more country greats. A glorious spoof, the Noses of Fame memorial, can be savoured over a beer at the Tattersalls Hotel on Peel Street.
  3. (countable, Britain, historical) A drinking game in which players hold up to three (or another specified number of) coins hidden in a fist and attempt to guess the total number of coins held.
    • 2015, Thomas Thurnell-Read, “Drinking Games”, in Scott C. Martin, editor, The SAGE Encyclopedia of Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Reference, →ISBN:
      The British journalist and author Richard Boston supplies an illustrative example of a drinking game once commonly played in British public houses but which has since faded from use: The game Spoof involves three or more players concealing between zero and three coins or similar small objects in a clenched fist that they hold in front of their body or place on the bar counter or table. Players are then prompted to correctly guess the total number of coins held by all players. As the game progresses, correct guesses allow players to drop out until the final round, in which the "loser," determined by making an incorrect guess, is punished by being required to buy the next round of drinks.
  4. (uncountable) Nonsense.
Derived terms[edit]


spoof (not comparable)

  1. Fake, hoax.
    • 1998, “Notes on Contributors”, in George McKay, editor, DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain, London, New York, N.Y.: Verso, →ISBN, page 300:
      His most recent art project, 'Consuming Desire', explored men's relationship with pornography, using invisible art strategies (a spoof sex shop and a spoof porn CD-ROM), media interventions (TV/radio and press exposure), and therapeutic work with men addicted to pornography.
    • 2004, Paul Gravett, “The All-encompassing: A Medium for Every Taste, Interest and Stage of Life”, in Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics, London: Laurence King Publishing; New York, N.Y.: Harper Design International, HarperCollins, →ISBN, page 127:
      Despite appearances, Hajime Furukawa's wacky I Don't Like Friday was never aimed at children, but ran as a spoof sex-education English course in Business Jump.


spoof (third-person singular simple present spoofs, present participle spoofing, simple past and past participle spoofed)

  1. (transitive) To gently satirize. [from 1914]
    • 1971, Harvey R. Deneroff, “Harlow, Jean”, in Edward T. James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S[amuel] Boyer, editors, Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, volumes II (G–O), Cambridge, Mass., London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, →ISBN, page 137:
      Her [Jean Harlow's] best film is generally considered to be Bombshell (1933), in which she spoofed her own career as a Hollywood sex goddess.
    • 2002, Ethan Mordden, “What’s in It for You?: The Shows of 1960”, in Open a New Window: The Broadway Musical in the 1960s (Golden Age of the Broadway Musical), New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan, →ISBN, page 9:
      [T]he ensemble [of From A to Z] included [] Elliott Reid spoofing television coverage of a political convention, Kelly Brown trying out another of those nostalgic soft-shoe numbers, and so on. The first-act finale observed a venerable revue tradition by spoofing a current hit show; From A to Z chose The Sound of Music.
    • 2012 April 29, Nathan Rabin, “The Simpsons (Classic): “Treehouse of Horror III” (season 4, episode 5; originally aired 10/29/1992)”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 1 September 2017:
      According to the audio commentary on "Treehouse Of Horror III," some of the creative folks at The Simpsons were concerned that the "Treehouse of Horror" franchise had outworn its welcome and was rapidly running out of classic horror or science-fiction fodder to spoof.
  2. (transitive) To deceive.
    • 1889, Faed, [pseudonym; Arthur James Wilson], Nym [pseudonym], Duffersville: Its Cycling Chronicles and Other Sketches, Dublin: Irish Cyclist & Athlete Office; London: Iliffe and Son; Shrewsbury, Shropshire: F. W. Jervis, →OCLC, page 14:
      Bandy is a few miles from Duffersville—how many I won't say, because when, on local information, I told Ebsworth three and he walked it, he declared he had been deliberately spoofed, and went about vowing reprisals.
    • 1892 August 27, “Two Penn’orth of Theosophy. (A Sketch at the Islington Arcadia.)”, in T. Taylor, editor, Punch, volume CIII, London: Published at the office, 85, Fleet Street, →OCLC, page 85, column 1:
      Amidst surroundings thus happily suggesting the idyllic and pastoral associations of Arcady, is an unpretending booth, the placards on which announce it to be the temporary resting-place of the "Far-famed Adepts of Thibet," who are there for a much-needed change, after a "3500 years' residence in the Desert of Gobi." There is also a solemn warning that "it is impossible to spoof a Mahatma."
  3. (transitive, computing) To falsify.
    • 2003, Tao Peng, Christopher Leckie, Kotagiri Ramamohanarao, “Detecting Distributed Denial of Service Attacks by Sharing Distributed Beliefs”, in Rei Safavi-Naini, Jennifer Seberry, editors, Information Security and Privacy: 8th Australasian Conference, ACISP 2003, Wollongong, Australia, July 9–11, 2003: Proceedings (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; 2727), Berlin, New York, N.Y.: Springer, →ISBN, page 224:
      However, MULTOPS assumes that packet rates between two hosts are proportional and the IP addresses are not spoofed.
    • 2007, Wes Kussmaul, “The Solution”, in The Sex Life of Tables: What Happens When Databases about You … Mate, Waltham, Mass.: PKI Press, →ISBN, page 83:
      [I]dentities in the online world can be easily spoofed. Your ten-year-old daughter will know that a middle-aged man is not her age or gender when she sees him in the physical world. But as we have seen, that middle-aged man can easily pass himself off as another ten-year-old girl in the online world.
    • 2009, Manfred Fettinger, “Overview of Security Attacks”, in Intrusion Detection in Wireless Ad Hoc Networks: Comparison of Different Approaches, [Munich]: GRIN Verlag, →ISBN, section 2.5.2 (Session Hijacking), page 5:
      This attack [session hijacking] uses the fact that most communications are protected at session setup but not thereafter. The attacker spoofs the victim's IP address and performs a DoS [denial-of-service] attack on the victim.

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin unknown; perhaps imitative of the spurting of a viscous liquid. Compare splooge, spoo (US slang), spooge, spaff.



spoof (uncountable)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Semen.


spoof (third-person singular simple present spoofs, present participle spoofing, simple past and past participle spoofed)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) To ejaculate, to come.
    • 2002, Annie Potts, “Innerspace”, in The Science/Fiction of Sex: Feminist Deconstruction and the Vocabulares of Heterosex, Hove, East Sussex, New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, part 2 (The Vocabularies of Heterosex), page 180:
      [T]he release of semen from the penis predominantly symbolizes a forceful masculine operation, an orgasmic ‘rush’ – ejaculate refers to a sudden happening, an ejection – while the ‘loss’ of blood during menstruation is viewed as a more or less passive occurrence. Even the metaphors employed to depict these two aspects of corporeality serve to situate them on differently gendered poles. Man ‘spoofs off’ or ‘shoots his load’, while woman ‘gets her visitor’, ‘has got her monthly’.
Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ H[enry] B[rougham] Farnie (lyrics); John Crook (music) (1887) ’Tain’t Natural: As Sung with Immense Success in the Burlesque of Robinson Crusoe at the Avenue Theatre, by Arthur Roberts, London: J. B. Cramer & Co., 201 Regent Street, W., →OCLC.
  2. ^ spoof”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.
  3. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “spoof”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  4. ^ spoof”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]