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.
    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,
    1. out of trouble; released from some difficulty: This time there was no one around to get him off the hook.
    2. free of obligation: Her brother paid all her bills and got her off the hook.
    3. Slang.extremely or shockingly excellent: Wow, that song is off the hook!
    on one's own hook, Informal. on one's own initiative or responsibility; independently.
    on the hook, Slang.
    1. obliged; committed; involved: He's already on the hook for $10,000.
    2. subjected to a delaying tactic; waiting: We've had him on the hook for two weeks now.

Origin of hook

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
Related formshook·less, adjectivehook·like, adjective
Can be confusedpenance pennants Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for get the hook



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
  1. a sharp bend or angle in a geological formation, esp a river
  2. 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
  1. slangout of danger; free from obligation or guilt
  2. (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
  1. waiting
  2. 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 Formshookless, 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

Word Origin and History for get the hook



Old English hoc "hook, angle," perhaps related to Old English haca "bolt," from Proto-Germanic *hokaz/*hakan- (cf. Old Frisian hok, Middle Dutch hoek, Dutch haak, German Haken "hook"), from PIE *keg- "hook, tooth" (cf. Russian kogot "claw"). For spelling, see hood (n.1).

Boxing sense of "short, swinging blow with the elbow bent" is from 1898. Figurative sense was in Middle English (see hooker). By hook or by crook (late 14c.) probably alludes to tools of professional thieves. Hook, line, and sinker "completely" is 1838, a metaphor from angling.



"to bend like a hook," c.1200; see hook (n.). Meaning "to catch (a fish) with a hook" is from c.1300. Related: Hooked; hooking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with get the hook


In addition to the idioms beginning with hook

  • hook or crook
  • hook up

also see:

  • 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.