\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for hook

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of hook in a Sentence

Noun She hit a hook into the left rough. He threw a right hook to his opponent's body. Verb 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The phones were ringing off the hook, Miller was answering them and taking box scores and then writing, because no one else was there to do it. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, 25 Aug. 2021 But in portraying Gallagher as a super-criminal Svengali, Philipps risks letting the Navy SEALs and their leadership off the hook. Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2021 There will be time to unravel all of that — and nobody responsible for this catastrophe should be let off the hook. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Aug. 2021 The Oakland City Council made a series of key changes to the terms before the July 20 vote, including a concession that let the A’s off the hook for an estimated $350 million in off-site infrastructure funding. Dan Moore, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Aug. 2021 Older adults and those with chronic health conditions or disabilities are not off the hook, either. Melanie Radzicki Mcmanus, CNN, 19 Aug. 2021 Shane is seen shaking hands with the cops, clearly off the hook for his manslaughter. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 16 Aug. 2021 The caller had hung up, and when the operator called back the phone was off the hook. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 10 Aug. 2021 But focusing on the Supreme Court also lets Democrats off the hook. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 5 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Maybe Karen Huger can hook Whitney up with her three-wick candlemaker to optimally fragrance all these cavernous Utah homes? Olivia Crandall, Vulture, 12 Sep. 2021 In the sport, participants usually hook a large kite to a body harness, hold onto a bar and then put their feet into straps attached to a surfboard. NBC News, 26 Aug. 2021 To carbonate the water, hook the gas line to your keg and shake it to dissolve CO2 into the solution. Parker Hall, Wired, 14 Aug. 2021 To live here has always meant to hunt snowy owls, to hook fish, to harpoon whales. Wyatt Williams, Harper's Magazine, 17 Aug. 2021 The goal was simple … find and catch some decent-sized crappies and maybe hook a giant. Jim Gronaw, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 10 Aug. 2021 The following Amazon Fire devices will hook you up with three months of free streaming. Seamus Bellamy, USA TODAY, 21 June 2021 These colors will appear throughout Android, and even developers can hook into the theming. Maren Estrada, BGR, 21 July 2021 Yet there’s no knowing for sure if picking up the pace and action will hook young kids, keep them engaged, and thus grow the game. BostonGlobe.com, 17 July 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About hook

Time Traveler for hook

Time Traveler

The first known use of hook was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near hook




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hook

Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hook. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on hook

Nglish: Translation of hook for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hook for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!