[kroo k]
  1. a bent or curved implement, piece, appendage, etc.; hook.
  2. the hooked part of anything.
  3. an instrument or implement having a bent or curved part, as a shepherd's staff hooked at one end or the crosier of a bishop or abbot.
  4. a dishonest person, especially a sharper, swindler, or thief.
  5. a bend, turn, or curve: a crook in the road.
  6. the act of crooking or bending.
  7. a pothook.
  8. Also called shank. a device on some musical wind instruments for changing the pitch, consisting of a piece of tubing inserted into the main tube.
verb (used with object)
  1. to bend; curve; make a crook in.
  2. Slang. to steal, cheat, or swindle: She crooked a ring from that shop.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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. 2018

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


  1. a curved or hooked thing
  2. a staff with a hooked end, such as a bishop's crosier or shepherd's staff
  3. a turn or curve; bend
  4. informal a dishonest person, esp a swindler or thief
  5. the act or an instance of crooking or bending
  6. Also called: shank a piece of tubing added to a brass instrument in order to obtain a lower harmonic series
  1. to bend or curve or cause to bend or curve
  1. Australian and NZ informal
    1. ill
    2. of poor quality
    3. unpleasant; bad
  2. go crook or go off crook Australian and NZ informal to lose one's temper
  3. 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.