What does it mean to deke someone out?

My English language vocabulary lesson for today is the word deke. This term originates from Canada, and has its origins in the sport of ice hockey.


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During the hockey game, I made it appear that I was going to take the puck left up the ice, but at the last minute I switched to the right and passed the other team’s best defensive player. I totally deked him out!


Deke is a Canadian term that is used to refer to the act of outmaneuvering someone else. The term comes from the sport of ice hockey and is widely used throughout Canada, where a great many people are big fans of the sport. Deke is a short form of the word decoy. When hunting ducks, hunters often use decoys of ducks; that is, fake ducks made of wood or plastic that look like real ducks, to attract the attention of live ducks to within the hunter’s shooting range.

A good example of a deke is when you move the puck with your hockey stick in such a way as to make it look like you are about to pass or shoot it in one direction, and then to suddenly switch and move it in the opposite direction than the one you originally indicated. This can be used to move the puck past defensive players (often called defensemen or the defense) on your way toward scoring a goal. You can also deke out the opposing goalie who is guarding the other team’s net.

Using deke outside of ice hockey

While deke is most often used when referring to hockey matches, you can also use the term when playing other sports; in soccer, lacrosse, or American football, for example. You can also use the term in the real world, outside of sports. In business, if you outmaneuver someone else in a business deal, you can say that you deked him out. If you perform slight of hand to trick another person, that might also be a deke. Generally, when you indicate that you’re going to perform one action and then perform a different action at the last minute, or when you act in a certain way in order to mislead another person, that could be referred to as a deke.

If you’re going to be spending any time in Canada, get ready to hear this term. And while you’re at it, you might also want to brush up on your knowledge of the great Canadian game of ice hockey – an understanding of the sport is almost essential when living in the Great White North!

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2 Responses to “What does it mean to deke someone out?”

  1. I enjoyed reading the thoughts on the origin and use of deke out.
    I’m Canadian and have known it to have its origins in hockey as stated. Outside of this context however I have never heard it used as in the example — deking someone out.
    Rather, in my experience, it is used in lieu of to duck out. I deked out for a minute to run an errand.

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About the Author

Website: Brian Crawford
I'm a Canadian and British dual citizen with an internationally-focused American MBA and an MS in International Project Management from a French business school. I am PMP, ScrumMaster, and ITIL Foundation certified. I'm particularly into travel, writing, and learning about different languages and cultures.