Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈhu̇k\

Simple Definition of hook

  • : a curved or bent tool for catching, holding, or pulling something

  • : a ball or shot in golf and other games that curves to the side instead of going straight

  • boxing : a punch coming from the side of the body instead of going straight forward

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hook

  1. 1 a :  a curved or bent device for catching, holding, or pulling b :  something intended to attract and ensnare c :  anchor 1

  2. 2 :  something curved or bent like a hook; especially plural :  fingers

  3. 3 :  a flight or course of a ball that deviates from straight in a direction opposite to the dominant hand of the player propelling it; also :  a ball following such a course — compare slice

  4. 4 :  a short blow delivered with a circular motion by a boxer while the elbow remains bent and rigid

  5. 5 :  hook shot

  6. 6 :  buttonhook

  7. 7 :  quick or summary removal —used with get or give <the pitcher got the hook after giving up three runs>

  8. 8 :  a device especially in music or writing that catches the attention

  9. 9 :  a selling point or marketing scheme

  10. 10 :  cradle 1b(2)

by hook or by crook

  1. :  by any means

off the hook

  1. 1 :  out of trouble

  2. 2 :  free of responsibility or accountability

on one's own hook

  1. :  by oneself :  independently

Examples of hook in a sentence

  1. She hit a hook into the left rough.

  2. He threw a right hook to his opponent's body.

Origin and Etymology of hook

Middle English, from Old English hōc; akin to Middle Dutch hoec fishhook, corner, Lithuanian kengė hook

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Hunting and Fishing Terms




Simple Definition of hook

  • : to connect or attach (something) with a hook

  • : to be attached by hooks

  • : to catch (something, such as a fish) with a hook

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hook

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to form into a hook :  crook

  3. 2 a :  to seize or make fast by or as if by a hook b :  to connect by or as if by a hook —often used with up

  4. 3 :  steal, pilfer

  5. 4 :  to make (as a rug) by drawing loops of yarn, thread, or cloth through a coarse fabric with a hook

  6. 5 :  to hit or throw (a ball) so that a hook results

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to form a hook :  curve

  9. 2 :  to become hooked

  10. 3 :  to work as a prostitute

Examples of hook in a sentence

  1. The train cars were hooked together.

  2. My sweater was hooked on a branch.

  3. I hooked the door shut.

  4. The dress hooks in the back.

  5. The two parts hooked together.

  6. He hooked a large fish.

  7. He hooked his arm around my neck.

  8. She hooked her fingers around the doorknob.

  9. He hooked his thumb through a loop of his pants.

13th Century

First Known Use of hook

13th century

HOOK Defined for Kids



noun \ˈhu̇k\

Definition of hook for Students

  1. 1 :  a curved device (as a piece of bent metal) for catching, holding, or pulling something <coat hook> <crochet hook>

  2. 2 :  something curved or bent like a hook <a hook of land>

by hook or by crook

  1. :  in any way :  fairly or unfairly <She's determined to get her way by hook or by crook.>




Definition of hook for Students



  1. 1 :  to bend in the shape of a hook <He hooked his thumbs in his belt.>

  2. 2 :  to catch or fasten with a hook <I hooked a fish.>

  3. 3 :  connect 1 <She hooked the hose to the faucet.>

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈhu̇k\

Medical Definition of hook

  1. 1:  an instrument used in surgery to take hold of tissue <a crypt hook> <a cordotomy hook>

  2. 2:  an anatomical part that resembles a hook

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hook? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sculptured or ornamented band

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • bride-of-dracula-in-cat-form-surrounded-by-candles-and-somewhat-bewilderingly-orange-sacks-instead-of-surely-much-cheaper-and-easier-to-find-actual-pumpkins
  • Which is a synonym of phlegmatic?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.