ball game played with a curved stick or club, 1527, implied in a document from Ireland ("The horlinge of the litill balle with hockie stickes or staves ..."), of unknown origin. Perhaps related to Middle French hoquet "shepherd's staff, crook," diminutive of Old French hoc "hook." The hooked clubs with which the game is played resemble shepherds' staves. In North America, ice hockey is distinguished from field hockey, but hockey alone can mean either. Also known as shinny or shinty.