\ 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for hook

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now more than ever, doctor’s phones have been ringing off the hook. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "How To Make The Most Of Your Virtual Doctor's Appointment," 19 May 2020 Hoffman Estates taxpayers are now on the hook to pay off the bond, which will cost $108 million over the full term of the note. At A Great Price, ProPublica, "Sears Helped Build a Giant Entertainment Arena. Now, a Suburb Pays Millions to Keep It Running.," 18 May 2020 But as a legal matter, a deviation from normal bureaucratic etiquette does not get defendants off the hook, criminal law experts said. New York Times, "Is Mr. Barr’s attempt to drop the case unusual?," 15 May 2020 The existence of experts doesn’t mean everyone else is off the hook. Paul Todd, STAT, "Expertise can help save us from Covid-19 — if we use it right," 6 May 2020 Chafing at the loss, the Libyans sued on grounds that they had been misled, but an indulgent British judge let the bank off the hook, ruling that the Libyans had only themselves to blame. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, "The Malaysian Job," 27 Apr. 2020 Detroit Free Press The phone at Stonebridge Golf Club has been ringing off the hook, but that’s not a surprise to Doug Mervis, the owner of the Ann Arbor course. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Golfers flock to some Michigan courses after Gov. Whitmer lifts golf ban," 24 Apr. 2020 Since the novel struck the region, shutting down schools, stores and businesses and leaving hundreds of thousands jobless, the phones have been ringing off the hook. Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, "More people are going hungry in D.C. Feeding them in a crisis is an enormous challenge.," 24 Apr. 2020 With the deadly coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the U.S., and with restrictions on travel and commerce, the phone lines of Arizona’s 11 members of Congress are ringing off the hook. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "'Lives are at stake': Arizona's congressional caseworkers easing anxiety during coronavirus pandemic," 30 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many anglers try to score in the Silver and Bronze Challenge, trying to hook a steelhead trout and a smallmouth bass while on a fishing trip. cleveland, "Lake Erie charter fishing to resume in Ohio on May 12 with restrictions: Fishing Report," 30 Apr. 2020 SoR4 is easy to share with friends and easy to get hooked on. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Streets of Rage 4 review: This beat-’em-up revival beats them all," 29 Apr. 2020 Strategically placed buttons on either side of this knit headband create an alternative place to hook mask elastics rather than the ears. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "If Your Face Mask Hurts Your Ears, Try These Genius Hacks to Prevent Irritation," 23 Apr. 2020 These allow your thumbs to hook through the sleeve ends to prevent them from riding up and exposing skin between your gloves and midlayer. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "The Best Men's Midlayers on the Market Right Now," 11 Apr. 2020 Because the machines are in such short supply, Dark’s colleagues are trying to figure out how to hook two, four, maybe even eight people up to one ventilator. Matt Simon, Wired, "An ER Doctor Describes What It's Like to Treat Covid-19," 27 Mar. 2020 People have been sharing videos of amusing pastimes, including a man attempting to hook a fish from an indoor fish tank and women playing mahjong with plastic bags covering their entire faces. Author: Cindy Chang, Anchorage Daily News, "Americans in China struggle for seats as plane evacuates hundreds from besieged Wuhan," 29 Jan. 2020 This is quite the new skill: In one shot, Wonder Woman appears to hook her lasso to a lightning bolt and use it to launch herself across the sky. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Everything We Know About Wonder Woman 1984," 9 Dec. 2019 With the ship and capsule swaying back and forth, the goal was to hook the rod into an improvised latch on top of the Mercury capsule, which looked something like the handle of an Easter basket. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "That time a monkey flew to the edge of space and then smashed into a destroyer," 1 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for hook

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hook

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hook. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hook

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hook

Spanish Central: Translation of hook

Nglish: Translation of hook for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hook for Arabic Speakers

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