crotch·​et ˈkrä-chət How to pronounce crotchet (audio)
: a small hook or hooked instrument
: brooch
: a highly individual and usually eccentric opinion or preference
: a peculiar trick or device
Choose the Right Synonym for crotchet

caprice, whim, vagary, crotchet mean an irrational or unpredictable idea or desire.

caprice stresses lack of apparent motivation and suggests willfulness.

by sheer caprice she quit her job

whim implies a fantastic, capricious turn of mind or inclination.

an odd antique that was bought on a whim

vagary stresses the erratic, irresponsible character of the notion or desire.

he had been prone to strange vagaries

crotchet implies an eccentric opinion or preference.

a serious scientist equally known for his bizarre crotchets

Examples of crotchet in a Sentence

her one crotchet is a fondness for eating cookies while soaking in the tub
Recent Examples on the Web The origins of brackets — once referred to as crotchets, crooks, or hooks — are a mystery. Sarah Fay, Longreads, 17 Mar. 2020 Among his other crotchets was an aversion to bare canvas. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 7 May 2018 Maxine attended to his every whim and crotchet, never lost faith in his brilliance or potential, and delighted in surrounding him with exactly the sort of frivolous company his wife abhorred. Sadie Stein, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crotchet.' 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 crochet, from Anglo-French crochet, croket — more at crocket

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of crotchet was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near crotchet

Cite this Entry

“Crotchet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


crotch·​et ˈkräch-ət How to pronounce crotchet (audio)
: an unusual personal opinion or habit

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