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[roo k]
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  1. a black, European crow, Corvus frugilegus, noted for its gregarious habits.
  2. a sharper at cards or dice; swindler.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cheat; fleece; swindle.

Origin of rook1

before 900; Middle English rok(e), Old English hrōc; cognate with Old Norse hrōkr, Old High German hruoh


[roo k]
noun Chess.
  1. one of two pieces of the same color that may be moved any number of unobstructed squares horizontally or vertically; castle.

Origin of rook2

1300–50; Middle English rok < Old French roc < Arabic rukhkh < Persian rukh
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rook

Historical Examples

  • One day he happened to mention his trouble and disappointment to the Rook.

    What the Blackbird said

    Mrs. Frederick Locker

  • That they are,” replied the Rook, “and they ought to be taught better.

    What the Blackbird said

    Mrs. Frederick Locker

  • The following day the Blackbird had a long talk with the Rook.

    What the Blackbird said

    Mrs. Frederick Locker

  • I carried the lady into her rook, and they ran for a surgeon and a midwife.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • If one rook of a colony gets into trouble, all the rest are worried about him directly.

British Dictionary definitions for rook


  1. a large Eurasian passerine bird, Corvus frugilegus, with a black plumage and a whitish base to its bill: family Corvidae (crows)
  2. slang a swindler or cheat, esp one who cheats at cards
  1. (tr) slang to overcharge, swindle, or cheat

Word Origin

Old English hrōc; related to Old High German hruoh, Old Norse hrōkr


  1. a chesspiece that may move any number of unoccupied squares in a straight line, horizontally or verticallyAlso called: castle

Word Origin

C14: from Old French rok, ultimately from Arabic rukhkh
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for rook


"European crow," Old English hroc, from Proto-Germanic *khrokaz (cf. Old Norse hrokr, Middle Dutch roec, Dutch roek, Middle Swedish roka, Old High German hruoh "crow"), possibly imitative of its raucous voice (cf. Gaelic roc "croak," Sanskrit kruc "to cry out"). Used as a disparaging term for persons since at least c.1500, and extended by 1570s to mean "a cheat," especially at cards or dice.


chess piece, c.1300, from Old French roc, from Arabic rukhkh, from Persian rukh, of unknown meaning, perhaps somehow related to the Indian name for the piece, rut, from Hindi rath "chariot." Confused in Middle English with roc.


"to defraud by cheating" (originally especially in a game), 1590s, from rook (n.1) in some sense (e.g. "a gull, simpleton," but this is not attested until 17c.). Related: Rooked; rooking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper