\ 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

But if inefficiencies can’t be ironed out, the provider, not the insurance company, is on the hook for the overrun. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hospitals lose money caring for mental health patients; is there a better way?," 1 July 2019 Washington was on the hook for a $3.25 million qualifying offer to Burakovsky, so that money can now be allocated toward his replacement. Isabelle Khurshudyan, baltimoresun.com, "Capitals on the hunt for third-line right wing after trading Andre Burakovsky," 29 June 2019 That doesn’t mean that immigrants would stop being on the hook for entering the country illegally. Ana Campoy, Quartz, "What if crossing the border illegally wasn’t a crime?," 28 June 2019 UConn is also likely to be on the hook for upward of $10 million in exit fees to the AAC. Ralph D. Russo, courant.com, "AAC isn’t looking to replace Huskies, keeping conference at 11 teams," 26 June 2019 But the Italian government, plus Lombardy, Veneto, the city of Milan and the tiny alpine municipality of Cortina d’Ampezzo will still be on the hook for roughly $700 million, Trovato estimates. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Italy Won the 2026 Winter Olympics Bid. Here’s Why That Could Be Trouble," 26 June 2019 Those eyeing the bill carefully include state and local police departments, who may be on the hook for patrolling watering holes into the wee hours, as well as alcohol awareness groups who lament the increased access to drinks. Jared Weber, USA TODAY, "Last call at 4? California could extend bar hours in LA, San Francisco and other cities," 20 June 2019 Louisville lost that game 4-3, and was eliminated from the tournament, Bennett on the hook for all four runs after pitching 1 2/3 innings. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Meet Louisville baseball's starter for its elimination game vs. Mississippi State," 20 June 2019 That leaves the American taxpayer on the hook for exorbitant price gouging. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland.com, "Cleveland aerospace company accused of Pentagon profiteering," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And, for those who get hooked on sphere-making, Williams will be offering classes later this summer at the San Diego Gem & Mineral Society’s building in Balboa Park. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sphere-making expert got his start at fair demonstration booth," 28 June 2019 Lucas, who told WPLG Channel 10 that he got hooked on the game thanks to his grandmother, is the only contestant from South Florida. Johnny Diaz, sun-sentinel.com, "Miami teen moves on to Jeopardy semifinals," 19 June 2019 As a child, he got hooked on Big Joe Turner’s Piney Brown Blues, featuring pianist Pete Johnson. Jim Cheng, USA TODAY, "Legendary New Orleans musician Dr. John, born Mac Rebbenack, dies at 77," 6 June 2019 The Woodlands native, who began flying airplanes at the age of 12 and who got hooked on flying drones at age 17, is now considered one of the most influential voices and figures in the rapidly expanding world of drones. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Self-taught Woodlands drone expert now a leading voice in growing industry," 5 June 2019 Although the main focus of the ominous images is the impeding combat, some GoT fans got hooked on a smaller detail. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Is That a Face Behind Sansa Stark in the New Game of Thrones Photos?," 26 Apr. 2019 The post actually sparked an even bigger debate: clasp and swivel vs. hooking in the back. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Don't Panic, But You've Been Wearing Your Bra Wrong Your Entire Life," 25 Apr. 2019 At 8:47, the Islanders had their chance with the man advantage when Arizona defenseman Jason Demers was called for hooking. Allan Kreda, The Seattle Times, "Eberle, Nelson back Lehner as Islanders beat Coyotes 2-0," 24 Mar. 2019 Then Valve released the Steam Link, which expedited the process by hooking directly to your TV. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Steam Link Anywhere lets you play your Steam library on the go," 14 Mar. 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

7 Jul 2019

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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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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