hook

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
6
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
10

hook

2 of 2

verb

hooked; hooking; hooks

transitive verb

1
: to form into a hook : crook
2
a
: 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
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
Phrases
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

Example Sentences

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 countries whose emissions have grown rapidly in the past decade will be exempt while the U.S., whose emissions have been declining, are on the hook. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2022 Minutes later, Musk sent another email to staff saying managers were on the hook not to lie about strong work as a cover for employees to work from home. David Mccabe, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Nov. 2022 But if equity investors dropped out, Musk would be on the hook to replace them or throw in more of his own money. Barbara Ortutay, ajc, 9 Nov. 2022 But if equity investors dropped out, Musk would be on the hook to replace them or throw in more of his own money. Time, 9 Nov. 2022 But if equity investors dropped out, Musk would be on the hook to replace them or throw in more of his own money. Barbara Ortutay, Fortune, 9 Nov. 2022 That means Twitter is on the hook to pay massive amounts of interest, as well as the loans themselves. Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2022 The billionaire also loaded about $13 billion in debt on Twitter for the acquisition and is on the hook to pay about $1 billion a year in interest payments. Ryan Mac, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2022 Opposition leaders have warned voters that Zahid, who led the push for early polls, is counting on his coalition's win to get off the hook in his graft trial and take over as prime minister. Eileen Ng, ajc, 10 Nov. 2022
Verb
Doodle team has a few seconds to hook a visitor into engaging with their games, illustrations or historical facts. Shannon Liao, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2022 Insert a tape measure into the hole, hook the end onto the edge of the ice, and take the measurement. Whitney Spivey, Outside Online, 29 Jan. 2013 Your school counselor should also be able to hook you up with someone to talk to about this very important aspect of your life. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 21 Oct. 2022 Your school counselor should also be able to hook you up with someone to talk to about this very important aspect of your life. Amy Dickinson, cleveland, 21 Oct. 2022 Your school counselor should also be able to hook you up with someone to talk to about this very important aspect of your life. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 21 Oct. 2022 Your school counselor should also be able to hook you up with someone to talk to about this very important aspect of your life. Amy Dickinson, Chicago Tribune, 21 Oct. 2022 Your school counselor should also be able to hook you up with someone to talk to about this very important aspect of your life. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2022 Wallace then bounced back down the track, followed Larson's car down to the apron and appeared to deliberately hook him in retaliation. CBS News, 18 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Old English hōc; akin to Middle Dutch hoec fishhook, corner, Lithuanian kengė hook

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near hook

Cite this Entry

“Hook.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hook. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

hook 1 of 2

noun

1
: a curved or bent tool for catching, holding, or pulling
2
: something curved or bent
3
: the flight of a ball curving to the left when hit or thrown by a right-hander or to the right when hit or thrown by a left-hander
4
: a short sweeping punch made with the elbow bent
5
: cradle entry 1 sense 6
left the phone off the hook
by hook or by crook
: by any means
off the hook
: out of trouble
on one's own hook
: by oneself : independently

hook

2 of 2

verb

1
: to form into a hook : crook, curve
2
a
: to seize, make fast, or connect by or as if by a hook
b
: to become secured or connected by or as if by a hook
3
4
: to make by drawing loops of thread, yarn, or cloth through a coarse fabric with a hook
hook a rug
5
: to hit or throw a ball so that a hook results

Medical Definition

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

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