\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

From that footage, the officers were able to not only see the crooks, but also identify a nearby hotel. Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, "Dash-cam saves the day for visiting artist who got ripped off," 15 May 2018 The robbery at Bancor is just the latest example of crooks targeting digital token companies. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Another Crypto Fail: Hackers Steal $23.5 Million from Token Service Bancor," 9 July 2018 According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, that’s how frequently crooks make off with vehicles whose owners left the keys inside of them or nearby. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Family tracks down car stolen with keys left inside, finds stolen goods in it," 12 July 2018 Things get a little complicated, however, when a bank robber (Sterling K. Brown), pulling off that One Last Job, runs afoul of an even bigger, and more dangerous crook. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What's new on screen, including 'Ocean's 8,' and where the free outdoor movies are this week," 7 June 2018 The race is shaping up as an ugly campaign to determine which candidate is the bigger crook. Andrew Seidman,, "Could the GOP take out New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez?," 6 June 2018 The Better Business Bureau says these crooks are professionals, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. CBS News, "Sweepstakes, lottery scams cost Americans more than $111 million in 2017," 5 June 2018 The next political challenge will be how the U.K. balances going after corporate crooks with a need for more investment in the age of Brexit. Franz Wild,, "Ex-Goldman Lawyer Tasked With Salvation of U.K.'s Fraud Office," 4 June 2018 Suddenly, there was Yale himself, tucked in the crook of Charlie’s arm, Nico on the other side: the year-end party last December for Charlie’s paper. Rebecca Makkai,, "An excerpt from 'The Great Believers' by Rebecca Makkai: 1985," 21 May 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

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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