\ ˈhu̇k How to pronounce hook (audio) \

Definition of hook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a curved or bent device for catching, holding, or pulling
b : something intended to attract and ensnare
2 : something curved or bent like a hook especially hooks plural : fingers
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 : a short blow delivered with a circular motion by a boxer while the elbow remains bent and rigid
5 : hook shot
7 : quick or summary removal used with get or give the pitcher got the hook after giving up three runs
8 : a device especially in music or writing that catches the attention
9 : a selling point or marketing scheme
by hook or by crook
: by any means
off the hook
1 : out of trouble
2 : free of responsibility or accountability
on one's own hook
: by oneself : independently


hooked; hooking; hooks

Definition of hook (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to form into a hook : crook
2a : 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
3 : steal, pilfer
4 : to make (something, such as a rug) by drawing loops of yarn, thread, or cloth through a coarse fabric with a hook
5 : to hit or throw (a ball) so that a hook results

intransitive verb

1 : to form a hook : curve
2 : to become hooked
3 : to work as a prostitute

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Synonyms & Antonyms for hook

Synonyms: Noun

bang, bash, bat, beat, belt, biff, blow, bop, box, buffet, bust, chop, clap, clip, clout, crack, cuff, dab, douse [British], fillip, hack, haymaker, hit, knock, larrup [dialect], lash, lick, pelt, pick, plump, poke, pound, punch, rap, slam, slap, slug, smack, smash, sock, spank, stinger, stripe, stroke, swat, swipe, switch, thud, thump, thwack, wallop, welt, whack, wham, whop (also whap)

Synonyms: Verb

arch, bend, bow, crook, curve, swerve

Antonyms: Verb

straighten, unbend, uncurl

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Examples of hook in a Sentence


She hit a hook into the left rough. He threw a right hook to his opponent's body.


The train cars were hooked together. My sweater was hooked on a branch. I hooked the door shut. The dress hooks in the back. The two parts hooked together. He hooked a large fish. He hooked his arm around my neck. She hooked her fingers around the doorknob. He hooked his thumb through a loop of his pants.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

City attorneys, meanwhile, have gone to the courts to try and ensure taxpayers won’t be on the hook for damages. baltimoresun.com, "State’s Attorney Mosby will ask courts to toss nearly 800 cases tainted by rogue Gun Trace Task Force cops," 5 Sep. 2019 Further Reading YouTube lets biggest stars off the hook for breaking rules, moderators say YouTube does not require a user to register in order to view videos, the complaint (PDF) points out. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "YouTube fined $170 million for violations of children’s privacy," 4 Sep. 2019 By November of that year, scarcely two months after the state signed its deal with Macquarie, the bid for federal aid fell apart, leaving Kentucky taxpayers on the hook for nearly half the $1.2 billion the state now owes the investment bank. Alfred Miller, ProPublica, "How Kentucky Gambled for Hundreds of Millions of Dollars From a Broadband Program It Didn’t Qualify for," 4 Sep. 2019 Justin Upton went two for three with a walk and joined the long-ball barrage, his solo homer tying the game at 5-5 in the sixth and taking Angels starter Jaime Barria off the hook for a defeat. Los Angeles Times, "Angels start off game in ‘MVP’ fashion before falling to Athletics," 3 Sep. 2019 The club isn't on the hook for a full purchase, so there's little risk with potential high reward after landing a player whose skill has never been in question. Avi Creditor, SI.com, "The Top 10 Summer Transfer Window Classes Around Europe," 3 Sep. 2019 Democrats have expressed concern that Section 230 leaves companies off the hook for political interference and online hate. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Big Tech under pressure to limit spread of 8chan and other extremist content," 7 Aug. 2019 Maybe general manager Rob Pelinka gets off the hook for not knowing the details (although such matters would never escape the Warriors’ Bob Myers), but someone in the organization had to know. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Newfound NBA parity leaves Warriors in middle of the pack," 16 July 2019 City officials let the landscape architecture firm for the project off the hook for less than $1 million, according to documents obtained by The News. Dallas News, "Castro rises in poll, outrage over Texas immigration detention centers grows, new Dallas voting plan," 4 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Just a 10-day supply can hook 1 in 5 people into being long-term users, researchers have determined. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "DEA tracked every opioid pill sold in the US. The data is out—and it’s horrific," 17 July 2019 Simmons hooked into the welcoming porch of the Crawford Boxes in left to push the lead back to two. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Angels blast their way to win over Astros and Justin Verlander," 5 July 2019 According to Motherboard, Apple is reportedly beta-testing a feature called USB Restricted Mode, which requires anyone using the phone to enter the correct passcode when hooking the phone into a USB slot. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Apple iOS 12 Feature Will Make It Harder for Police to Access Seized iPhones," 14 June 2018 That's because Watson snap-hooked his drive into the right trees and had no visible path to get to the green. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Best Masters Memories From the Past 20 Years: No. 4 - Bubba's Rope Hook in the Playoff," 1 Apr. 2018 Hines-Allen straightened up, hooked her thumbs into her No. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Myisha Hines-Allen ends memorable Louisville career with bittersweet Final Four epilogue," 31 Mar. 2018 For instance, does one hook his kicks more from the left hash mark? Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "Bears Q&A: How did the Browns get more for Duke Johnson than the Bears did for Jordan Howard? Is Taylor Gabriel still the fastest Bear? Will Javon Wims make the 53-man roster?," 14 Aug. 2019 Take a look at some of the best climbers in the world: Adam Ondra can contort his knees in seemingly inhuman ways, Margo Hayes can hook her heel high above her head, and Alex Megos can do full splits on the wall. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "12 Yoga Poses for Climbers to Do Daily," 9 Aug. 2019 Some small bluefin tuna have been landed and one boat reported seeing (not hooking) a marlin. oregonlive.com, "Monroe: In search of hungry trout in Oregon’s summer haven," 2 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hook.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hook


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for hook


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

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Statistics for hook

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hook

The first known use of hook was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hook



English Language Learners Definition of hook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of hook (Entry 2 of 2)

: to connect or attach (something) with a hook
: to be attached by hooks
: to catch (something, such as a fish) with a hook


\ ˈhu̇k How to pronounce hook (audio) \

Kids Definition of hook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a curved device (as a piece of bent metal) for catching, holding, or pulling something coat hook crochet hook
2 : something curved or bent like a hook a hook of land
by hook or by crook
: in any way : fairly or unfairly She's determined to get her way by hook or by crook.


hooked; hooking

Kids Definition of hook (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to bend in the shape of a hook He hooked his thumbs in his belt.
2 : to catch or fasten with a hook I hooked a fish.
3 : connect sense 1 She hooked the hose to the faucet.


\ ˈhu̇k How to pronounce hook (audio) \

Medical Definition of hook

1 : an instrument used in surgery to take hold of tissue a crypt hook a cordotomy hook
2 : an anatomical part that resembles a hook

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More from Merriam-Webster on hook

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hook

Spanish Central: Translation of hook

Nglish: Translation of hook for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hook for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hook

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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