\ ˈkru̇k \
crooked; crooking; crooks

Definition of crook 

(Entry 1 of 3)



Definition of crook (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an implement having a bent or hooked form: such as

a : pothook

b(1) : a shepherd's staff

(2) : crosier sense 1

2 : a part of something that is hook-shaped, curved, or bent the crook of an umbrella handle

3 : bend, curve

4 : a person who engages in fraudulent or criminal practices



Definition of crook (Entry 3 of 3)

Australia and New Zealand

: not right:

a : unsatisfactory

b : dishonest, crooked

c : irritable, angry used especially in the phrase go crook

d : ill, unwell

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Synonyms & Antonyms for crook

Synonyms: Verb

arch, bend, bow, curve, hook, swerve

Synonyms: Noun

criminal, culprit, lawbreaker, malefactor, miscreant, offender

Antonyms: Verb

straighten, unbend, uncurl

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Examples of crook in a Sentence


He crooked his finger at us and led us to the table. the road suddenly crooked to the left


He thinks politicians are just a bunch of crooks. the crook of his arm The squirrel sat in the crook of the tree. the crook of the cane
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lines that appear straight on the linens were crooked when scanned into a computer. Vipal Monga, WSJ, "The Quest to Recover a Lost Frank Lloyd Wright Building," 30 May 2018 Would crooked Hillary have brought little rocket man to the table? Fox News, "Hannity: The Mueller investigation is a perjury trap," 2 May 2018 Mother daughter teas are a particularly fun opportunity for mothers and daughters to dress up, crook their pinkies while eating tiny sandwiches, sip tea, and spend quality time together. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, "Why We Love the Tradition of Mother Daughter Teas," 31 Jan. 2018 Mills crooked his head, brow furrowed, and paused a second. Michael Powell, New York Times, "At Knicks’ Facility, Hopeful Talk and Lessons Learned (or Maybe Not)," 17 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some skimmers must be physically retrieved by the criminals to capture consumers’ payment data, but newer types use Bluetooth technology to send out the information to crooks. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Beware Credit Card Skimmers at Gas Stations This July Fourth, Secret Service Warns," 3 July 2018 Obama came out strongly for the U.S. World Cup campaign for 2018 and 2022 as well, getting chummy with Sepp Blatter, writing letters to and meeting with the soccer politician – later to be exposed as a master crook. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Give Trump credit for USA getting the World Cup," 13 June 2018 On a recent sunny day after work, the 38-year-old walked his English sheepdog, named Magnificent, along Baker Street, keeping an eye out for crooks. San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco’s auto burglary hot spots," 17 Mar. 2018 The expected parliamentary logjam as Britain replaces EU laws with its own could bring another fillip for crooks. The Economist, "Gangsters’ paradiseBrexit presents new opportunities for organised crime," 24 Jan. 2018 The transfer of know-how from rich countries to poorer ones, by hook or crook, is an integral part of economic development. The Economist, "America Inc and the rage against Beijing," 28 June 2018 With the Champions League final knotted in a scoreless tie, the 32-year-old defender pinned the arm of Liverpool’s top scorer, Mohamed Salah, in the crook of his own, then drove his body to the turf. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Sergio Ramos, the World Cup and the Benefits of Bad Sportsmanship," 13 June 2018 And, when sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth with the crook of your arm rather than with your hands. Cathie Anderson, sacbee, "Influenza B surging as overall flu cases fall — and it's deadlier in kids, experts say | The Sacramento Bee," 19 Mar. 2018 Set in a near-future Los Angeles, Hotel Artemis follows a nurse (Foster) who runs a secret, members-only emergency medical ward for would-be crooks. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Weekend Box Office: 'Ocean's 8' Steals the Show With $41.5M Opening," 10 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crook.' 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 crook


12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1898, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crook


Middle English crok, from Old Norse krōkr hook


probably short for crooked

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Time Traveler for crook

The first known use of crook was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for crook



English Language Learners Definition of crook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to bend (your finger, neck, or arm)



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

: a dishonest person

: a criminal

: the place where part of the body (such as an arm, leg, or finger) bends


\ ˈkru̇k \
crooked\ˈkru̇kt \; crooking

Kids Definition of crook

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: bend entry 1 sense 1, curve She crooked her finger.



Kids Definition of crook (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a dishonest person (as a thief)

2 : a shepherd's staff with one end curved into a hook

3 : a curved or hooked part of a thing : bend He held it in the crook of his arm.

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Comments on crook

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