\ 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
7 : quick or summary removal used with get or givethe 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
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 So if a performer is too sick to take the stage, Argo would be on the hook to cover some of the costs of the show’s cancellation. Patrick Danner, ExpressNews.com, "COVID claims drop at insurer Argo, but still lead to 2Q loss," 6 Aug. 2020 Let yourself off the hook for not having it all under control or figured out or managed to your satisfaction. The Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax Live: 'Even the dog'," 31 July 2020 Faculty and staff members are exempt from the new rule but not off the hook. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "All University of Kentucky on-campus students have to take a COVID-19 test this semester," 31 July 2020 Costumes that portray other races aren’t off the hook, either. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "Don't Get Why Blackface Is Offensive? Here's Why It Is (and Why It Matters)," 27 July 2020 But that doesn’t necessarily let IU off the hook for breaching its contract, Grow said. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU football: Resolution of canceled games could become murky," 12 July 2020 But industry critics say pharmaceutical companies shouldn't be let off the hook for their role in driving up drug prices. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Could a coronavirus vaccine rehab the pharmaceutical industry's reputation despite drug price increases?," 9 July 2020 Finally, a hook for every jacket and a ring for every umbrella handle. Krystin Arneson, CNN Underscored, "Wayfair is taking up to 70% off during its July 4th Clearance sale," 25 June 2020 Surprisingly, Ford has a modest role to pay for the decision to pay the considerable development costs of the right-hook Vette. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Chevy Corvette with Right-Hand Drive, First Ever, to Launch in U.K. as 2021 Model," 9 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb About 30 to 35 tuna have been caught in the past week, Laughlin said, and far more have been lost as anglers scramble to figure out how to hook, fight and land the giant and elusive prize. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Rare, giant bluefin tuna off Half Moon Bay have turned the fishing world upside down," 4 Aug. 2020 Prescott Outdoors can hook you up with a kayak at two locations in Prescott. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, "Kayaking is a fun way to social distance. These Arizona lakes - and a river - have rentals," 11 July 2020 The next round will hit Texas on Thursday through Saturday, and then hook back eastward over the Southeast and Tennessee Valley area. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Massive Sahara desert dust plume closing in on the United States," 26 June 2020 Just hook it up to a hose and water will spray out of its horn. Kami Phillips, CNN Underscored, "The cutest summer essentials from Target, starting at just $3," 25 June 2020 The cushions are three-inches, have removable UV resistant cushion covers, and hook and loop fasteners to keep them securely in place. Kearney 9′ Market Umbrella, available in 7 colors, is on sale for $50 after a 62 percent off sale. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Outdoor furniture sale offers up to 50 percent off deals on sectionals, patio umbrellas, lighting," 24 June 2020 And objections to the administrative reclassification of the islands in Taiwan shows the depths to which the islands hook their respective claimants. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Why this Japan-China island dispute could be Asia's next military flashpoint," 20 June 2020 Sometimes, painful piercings, hook swinging and self-flagellation were offered when patients recovered from illnesses, both mental and physical. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, "India’s goddesses of contagion provide protection in the pandemic – just don’t make them angry," 15 June 2020 The hunt for an invisible, nearly traceless substance usually goes something like this: To detect dark matter particles, physicists get a material, put it somewhere deep underground, hook it up to instruments and hope to see a signal. Daniel Garisto, Scientific American, "Direct Proof of Dark Matter May Lurk at Low-Energy Frontiers," 9 June 2020

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

Statistics for hook

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hook. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hook


How to pronounce hook (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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