[ hoo k ]
/ hʊk /
a curved or angular piece of metal or other hard substance for catching, pulling, holding, or suspending something.
anything that catches; snare; trap.
something that attracts attention or serves as an enticement: The product is good but we need a sales hook to get people to buy it.
something having a sharp curve, bend, or angle at one end, as a mark or symbol.
a sharp curve or angle in the length or course of anything.
a curved arm of land jutting into the water; a curved peninsula: Sandy Hook.
a recurved and pointed organ or appendage of an animal or plant.
a small curved catch inserted into a loop to form a clothes fastener.
- the path described by a ball, as in baseball, bowling, or golf, that curves in a direction opposite to the throwing hand or to the side of the ball from which it was struck.
- a ball describing such a path.
Boxing. a short, circular punch delivered with the elbow bent.
Metalworking. an accidental short bend formed in a piece of bar stock during rolling.
hooks, Slang. hands or fingers: Get your hooks off that cake!
Underworld Slang. a pickpocket.
Also called deck hook. Nautical. a triangular plate or knee that binds together the stringers and plating at each end of a vessel.
verb (used with object)
to seize, fasten, suspend from, pierce, or catch hold of and draw with or as if with a hook.
to catch (fish) with a fishhook.
Slang. to steal or seize by stealth.
Informal. to catch or trick by artifice; snare.
(of a bull or other horned animal) to catch on the horns or attack with the horns.
to catch hold of and draw (loops of yarn) through cloth with or as if with a hook.
to make (a rug, garment, etc.) in this fashion.
Sports. to hit or throw (a ball) so that a hook results.
Boxing. to deliver a hook with: The champion hooked a right to his opponent's jaw.
Rugby. to push (a ball) backward with the foot in scrummage from the front line.
to make hook-shaped; crook.
verb (used without object)
to become attached or fastened by or as if by a hook.
to curve or bend like a hook.
- (of a player) to hook the ball.
- (of a ball) to describe a hook in course.
Slang. to depart hastily: We'd better hook for home.
- to fasten with a hook or hooks.
- to assemble or connect, as the components of a machine: to hook up a stereo system.
- to connect to a central source, as of power or water: The house hasn't been hooked up to the city's water system yet.
- Informal. to join, meet, or become associated with: He never had a decent job until he hooked up with this company.
- Informal. to have casual sex or a romantic date without a long-term commitment: He doesn't know her very well, but he hooked up with her a couple of times.
Words nearby hook
Idioms for hook
by hook or by crook, by any means, whether just or unjust, legal or illegal.Also by hook or crook.
get/give the hook, Informal. to receive or subject to a dismissal: The rumor is that he got the hook.
- out of trouble; released from some difficulty: This time there was no one around to get him off the hook.
- free of obligation: Her brother paid all her bills and got her off the hook.
- Slang. extremely or shockingly excellent: Wow, that song is off the hook!
- obliged; committed; involved: He's already on the hook for $10,000.
- subjected to a delaying tactic; waiting: We've had him on the hook for two weeks now.
hook it, Slang. to run away; depart; flee: He hooked it when he saw the truant officer.
hook, line, and sinker, Informal. entirely; completely: He fell for the story—hook, line, and sinker.
off the hook,
on one's own hook, Informal. on one's own initiative or responsibility; independently.
on the hook, Slang.
Origin of hook1
before 900; 1830–40, Americanism for def 36; Middle English hoke (noun and v.), Old English hōc (noun); cognate with Dutch hoek hook, angle, corner; akin to German Haken, Old Norse haki
OTHER WORDS FROM hookhook·less, adjectivehook·like, adjective
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH hookpenance pennants
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for by hook or by crook
/ (hʊk) /
a piece of material, usually metal, curved or bent and used to suspend, catch, hold, or pull something
short for fish-hook
a trap or snare
mainly US something that attracts or is intended to be an attraction
something resembling a hook in design or use
- a sharp bend or angle in a geological formation, esp a river
- a sharply curved spit of land
boxing a short swinging blow delivered from the side with the elbow bent
cricket a shot in which the ball is hit square on the leg side with the bat held horizontally
golf a shot that causes the ball to swerve sharply from right to left
surfing the top of a breaking wave
Also called: hookcheck ice hockey the act of hooking an opposing player
music a stroke added to the stem of a written or printed note to indicate time values shorter than a crotchet
a catchy musical phrase in a pop song
another name for a sickle
a nautical word for anchor
by hook or crook or by hook or by crook by any means
get the hook US and Canadian slang to be dismissed from employment
hook, line, and sinker informal completelyhe fell for it hook, line, and sinker
off the hook
- slang out of danger; free from obligation or guilt
- (of a telephone receiver) not on the support, so that incoming calls cannot be received
on one's own hook slang, mainly US on one's own initiative
on the hook slang
- in a dangerous or difficult situation
sling one's hook British slang to leave
(often foll by up) to fasten or be fastened with or as if with a hook or hooks
(tr) to catch (something, such as a fish) on a hook
to curve like or into the shape of a hook
(tr) (of bulls, elks, etc) to catch or gore with the horns
(tr) to make (a rug) by hooking yarn through a stiff fabric backing with a special instrument
(tr often foll by down) to cut (grass or herbage) with a sickleto hook down weeds
boxing to hit (an opponent) with a hook
ice hockey to impede (an opposing player) by catching hold of him with the stick
golf to play (a ball) with a hook
rugby to obtain and pass (the ball) backwards from a scrum to a member of one's team, using the feet
cricket to play (a ball) with a hook
(tr) informal to trick
(tr) a slang word for steal
hook it slang to run or go quickly away
See also hook-up
Derived forms of hookhookless, adjectivehooklike, adjective
Word Origin for hook
Old English hōc; related to Middle Dutch hōk, Old Norse haki
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
Culture definitions for by hook or by crook
by hook or by crook
By whatever means possible, fair or unfair: “Polly was determined to get an A on the exam by hook or by crook.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with by hook or by crook
In addition to the idioms beginning with hook
- hook or crook
- hook up
- by hook or crook
- off the hook
- on one's own account (hook)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.