[kroo k]


verb (used with object)

to bend; curve; make a crook in.
Slang. to steal, cheat, or swindle: She crooked a ring from that shop.

verb (used without object)

to bend; curve.

Origin of crook

1125–75; Middle English crok(e) < Old Norse krāka hook Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crooking

Historical Examples of crooking

  • Could settle the deadliest quarrel in the country by crooking his little finger.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

  • "Come along, Elsie," he said, crooking his left arm for her.

  • Before, you go so (erecting a forefinger); now you always so (crooking it).

  • Zoe runs to the chandelier and, crooking her leg, adjusts the mantle.


    James Joyce

  • At the crooking of his captain's finger, he walked back to the bench.

British Dictionary definitions for crooking



a curved or hooked thing
a staff with a hooked end, such as a bishop's crosier or shepherd's staff
a turn or curve; bend
informal a dishonest person, esp a swindler or thief
the act or an instance of crooking or bending
Also called: shank a piece of tubing added to a brass instrument in order to obtain a lower harmonic series


to bend or curve or cause to bend or curve


Australian and NZ informal
  1. ill
  2. of poor quality
  3. unpleasant; bad
go crook or go off crook Australian and NZ informal to lose one's temper
go crook at or go crook on Australian and NZ informal to rebuke or upbraid

Word Origin for crook

C12: from Old Norse krokr hook; related to Swedish krok, Danish krog hook, Old High German krācho hooked tool
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 crooking



early 13c., "hook-shaped instrument or weapon," from Old Norse krokr "hook, corner," cognate with Old High German kracho "hooked tool," of obscure origin but perhaps related to a widespread group of Germanic kr- words meaning "bent, hooked." Meaning "swindler" is American English, 1879, from crooked in figurative sense of "dishonest" (1708). Crook "dishonest trick" was in Middle English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with crooking


In addition to the idioms beginning with crook

  • crook one's elbow

also see:

  • by hook or crook
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.