1 of 3


crooked; crooking; crooks


2 of 3


: an implement having a bent or hooked form: such as
: a shepherd's staff
: a part of something that is hook-shaped, curved, or bent
the crook of an umbrella handle
: bend, curve
: a person who engages in fraudulent or criminal practices


3 of 3


Australia and New Zealand
: not right:
: irritable, angry
used especially in the phrase go crook
: ill, unwell

Examples of crook in a Sentence

Verb He crooked his finger at us and led us to the table. the road suddenly crooked to the left Noun 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
Recent Examples on the Web
Had the train recently hosted the cast of Cirque du Soleil, perhaps, who insisted on descending head first, arms outstretched, after crooking one knee over the top rung? Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 4 May 2020 Over the last decades, people are using smartphones and gadgets and living a working life by the computer with shoulders crooked forward. Vogue, 16 May 2019 Doing so causes the C930 to spring open slightly, allowing you to crook a finger under the lid and continue opening it. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, 30 Aug. 2018 Lines that appear straight on the linens were crooked when scanned into a computer. Vipal Monga, WSJ, 30 May 2018 Would crooked Hillary have brought little rocket man to the table? Fox News, 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, 31 Jan. 2018 Mills crooked his head, brow furrowed, and paused a second. Michael Powell, New York Times, 17 July 2017
The dangers could apply to other unsolicited offers at a time when crooks are becoming more sophisticated and many consumers aren't heeding even basic precautions. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 12 May 2024 The mockumentary-style series shows the often overwhelming incompetence of the Reno Sheriff's Department, led by Lt. Jim Dangle (creator Thomas Lennon), from their morning briefings to their attempts to catch a string of memorable crooks on the streets., 10 May 2024 There is concerning news from Harry’s former assistant Syd (Keith Pinto), reporting that an innocent man from years prior might have been hanged, and Mooney may be the actual crook looking to continue inflicting damage. David John Chávez, The Mercury News, 11 Apr. 2024 The crooks then repair the packaging, return to a store and place the cards back on a rack. Craig Silverman, ProPublica, 10 Apr. 2024 Sure, crooks will steal cash or gift cards that people send in the mail too. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 28 Mar. 2024 The crooks now have to find the duo who unwittingly took off with the package and retrieve it. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 23 Feb. 2024 Spoiler: The ads contain malware that helps crooks hack into the account. ◾ Fake websites often claim to sell in-game currency. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2024 But each week’s new cases require new clients, new patients, new victims and killers and crooks, some at least mildly famous and each of them plausible for whatever fantastical circumstance the writers have dreamed up. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 6 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crook.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English crok, from Old Norse krōkr hook


probably short for crooked

First Known Use


12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1898, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near crook

Cite this Entry

“Crook.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb


2 of 2 noun
: a shepherd's staff with one end curved into a hook
: a dishonest person (as a thief or swindler)
: a curved or hooked part of a thing : bend

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