According to Hoyle – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you seen the phrase 'according to Hoyle' somewhere and would like to know more about the context and meaning of the saying? The phrase is a less common expression that refers to expert opinions, and it can be meant seriously or with sarcasm. This post unpacks the meaning, origin and use of the saying.


The saying 'according to Hoyle' means that someone has provided an expert opinion about something, usually a topic that is given context by the rest of the conversation.

The phrase can be used as a serious or sarcastic/humorous statement.

'According to Hoyle' implies that someone knows what they're talking about, or has sarcastic implicatoins to imply the opposite.

Serious or sarcastic use of the phrase is generally considered to be obvious from the rest of what's being said.

The phrase carries another meaning, where 'according to Hoyle' can apply to the rules of board or card games, which appeared in the Hoyle series of books and internet resources.

The phrase can sometimes be used as 'not according to Hoyle' to indicate the opposite of the regular meaning.

Example Usage

“According to Hoyle, there are several versions of the game called Rummy and we've been playing all wrong for about twenty years of the time we've been married.”

“I'm the most stylish person in the room tonight according to Hoyle, and you can all go fly a kite if you don't agree with it.”

“If you don't know the truth according to Hoyle, then you shouldn't get involved about discussions about what people do with their cows on their own farms during private time.”

“You don't know what you're doing according to Hoyle, the man on the moon or the guy who had to write the guide. You're going to void the warranty, and you might even blow up the computer.”


The origin of the saying 'according to Hoyle' is given by the majority of reputable language resources as originating from the books of Edmond Hoyle, an authority on various card and board games who lived from 1672 to 1769.

The Hoyle series of books became a household name long after his death, with an update to the Hoyle series released at least once every few years – including recently.

Hoyle would also branch out into various PC games in the early 90s to 2000s, which brought the name and saying  'according to Hoyle' back into the popular lexicon.

Use of the saying 'according to Hoyle' would continue well into the 21st century as a phrase on social media and common speech.

Some resources incorrectly state that Fred Hoyle is the origin of the phrase.

Phrases Similar to According to Hoyle

  • Simon says

Phrases Opposite to According to Hoyle

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What is the Correct Saying?

  • According to Hoyle

Ways People May Say According to Hoyle Incorrectly

There are several ways in which someone can use 'according to Hoyle' in the wrong way, or with the wrong context.

The phrase 'according to Hoyle' can be used as a literal sentence, that refers either to the Hoyle series of rulebooks, or to Hoyle himself.

The phrase 'according to Hoyle' can also have either a serious or sarcastic meaning.

The saying is most common in English, and is unlikely to make sense as a direct translation into languages that are not familiar with the Hoyle series of rulebooks.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase According to Hoyle

The correct way to use the phrase 'according to Hoyle' is to use the saying as a serious or sarcastic means of saying that someone 'knows what they're talking about' – or that information comes from a verified, authoritative source.

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