\ ˈhu̇k \

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

The Senate Ethics Committee would evaluate the claim and determine whether members should personally be on the hook. Li Zhou, Vox, "Congress’s recently passed sexual harassment bill, explained," 20 Dec. 2018 Here, two storage benches serve an even greater purpose with the addition of coat and bag hooks, and a ledge shelf up top for art. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "10 Mudrooms That Are Actually The Opposite Of Embarrassing," 25 Oct. 2018 On everything that happens now, companies are on the hook for saying something. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Silicon Valley’s Saudi money crisis illustrates a decline of ‘moral leadership’ in America," 19 Oct. 2018 For me, for now, a good hook is color — the world is colorful, and my screens are gray. New York Times, "So, About That Treadmill Desk in the Newsroom," 4 July 2018 And the hook was the phony, fictitious, fabricated dossier. Fox News, "Hannity: Another stinging setback for the special counsel," 17 May 2018 Brinkley writes with the surprises coming to him along the way, rather than writing with some notion of a narrative hook already in mind. Brandon Yu, San Francisco Chronicle, "Author Jamel Brinkley lets the surprises in his stories sneak up on him," 1 May 2018 The Energy Department is on the hook to move 34 metric tons (nearly 75,000 pounds) of material, Halstead said. Ken Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Nevada suing US in bid to block plan for plutonium shipments," 4 Dec. 2018 Attach the power wires to the brass terminal screws so the rounded hooks point clockwise. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Wire a Light Switch," 17 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Beat with a dough hook attached to a stand mixer, on low speed, until moistened. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Gingerbread Rolls," 7 Dec. 2018 The utensils, which come in black and stainless steel, have thin handles and unexpected kinks in their frames, which allows them to hang from a mug or hook onto the side of a tray, perfectly balanced. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "‘Skeleton’ cutlery is designed to use as little material as possible," 11 Sep. 2018 Like, the woman interviewed bell hooks for goodness sake. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, August 31 Edition," 31 Aug. 2018 Luka Modric scored another with a hooking shot in the 80th and Ivan Rakitic added the third in stoppage time. Stephen Wade, chicagotribune.com, "Argentina on brink of elimination from World Cup after 3-0 loss to Croatia," 21 June 2018 Even better: The MSR DragonFly ($140) stove hooks onto the bottom to become a heat source. Jakob Schiller, Outside Online, "Our Favorite #Vanlife Gear from Overland Expo West," 25 May 2018 Oshie fired the puck past Vasilevskiy on a pass from Nicklas Backstrom with 4:48 left in the second period as Braydon Coburn sat in the box on a hooking penalty. A.j. Perez, USA TODAY, "Capitals come up big, force Game 7 with 3-0 win against Lightning," 21 May 2018 For starters, although Presidio Terrace was built in 1905, there are no water records on the street until 1985, when somebody — PUC officials don’t know who — applied for a water line hook-up. Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tony San Francisco enclave drenched its greenery on city’s dime for over a century," 4 Apr. 2018 Mix in a mixer with a dough hook attachment to develop dough. Nancy Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Butchertown Grocery's food (and chef!) continues to surprise, delight and intrigue diners," 3 Apr. 2018

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

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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