\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

c : anchor sense 1

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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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

Yurk worked the 14-inch bass to the side of the boat, flicked the hook out of its mouth and watched it swim off. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Retro outing proves fishing fun - and gear - is timeless," 14 July 2018 Japan can look forward to blistering electro-pop from Zedd, international trap from DJ Snake, high-quality hooks from Galantis, and all the Dutch house boom of Afrojack. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Ultra Japan 2018 Lineup: Zedd, Axwell & Ingrosso, DJ Snake & More," 12 July 2018 Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., S.F.. www.presidio.gov Crochet Jam with Ramekon O’Arwisters Learn one crochet stitch and then create an art piece using the crochet hook and fabric strips provided. SFChronicle.com, "Kids listings," 12 July 2018 Pliers are also a must to help remove hooks from fish mouths. Mark Blythe, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Fishing 101: Learn how to start fishing in Central Florida," 11 July 2018 Ask Miami, on the hook for a billion dollars in bonds until 2046. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "The Rays' Proposed New Stadium Looks Beautiful, But Who Is Going to Pay for It?," 11 July 2018 Still, will private equity firms be on the hook in the future for severance pay in other bankruptcies and liquidations? Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Tuesday, July 10," 10 July 2018 This concern also led her to add numerous wall hooks as a storage solution throughout the home since there are few closets. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "A Fire Island house brings the spirit of sand and surf indoors," 9 July 2018 The Facebook group Gulf Coast Shark Chasers reported on Saturday that one of its members was able to help Biggers remove the hook from the shark's mouth and guide it back into the water. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Sizable shark caught off beach along Surfside," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the texture hooked me, as did the understanding at that young age that eggplant was a kind of sponge, able to soak up an outsize amount of flavor. Evan Kleiman, latimes.com, "Cucina Italiana: The joy of eggplant. Try making a timbale," 5 July 2018 But being around the ever-competitive Erickson hooked him to want to trying coaching Division I football. Danny Moran, OregonLive.com, "Jim Michalczik brings sterling reputation with him as Oregon State offensive line coach," 25 Apr. 2018 Sherratt was hooked, and some five years ago became chief executive officer of the organization, which since its founding in 2007 has worked to combat homelessness through its unusual approach. David Karas, The Christian Science Monitor, "She gives a sense of community and purpose to homeless through a running club," 26 Mar. 2018 The possibility of another generation getting hooked on nicotine is a nightmare scenario health regulators are scrambling to avoid. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Juul, the vape device teens are getting hooked on, explained," 18 May 2018 Linemate Gabriel Landeskog was awarded the game's final goal after getting hooked in front of the empty Nashville net at 18:24 of the third period while trying to set up MacKinnon for a hat trick. Michael Blinn, SI.com, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Avalanche Use Quick Start to Topple Predators in Game 3 Win," 17 Apr. 2018 In Harford County, as most folks know, one of the most pervasive health crises is the overdose epidemic caused by a wave of those hooked on prescription painkillers and other opioids used as substitutes to feed the addictions. The Aegis, "A transformative time [Editorial]," 1 June 2018 From her breakfast order at The Merc to videos of Henry the Pioneer Pup, the Food Network star has us hooked on ranch living with snapshots from Pawhuska. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "See World's Cutest Baby Photo of Ree Drummond's Daughter Paige," 16 May 2018 After making her first quilt last year, Clarkson seems to be hooked on the new hobby. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Kelly Clarkson Made Her Fellow Voice Coaches Handmade Quilts — But Jokes 'Don't Look 2 Closely'," 8 May 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

13 Oct 2018

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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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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