\ 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 One more run and the Orioles would be off the hook for the most runs allowed in a major league game in the modern era (since 1900). Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Rangers 30, Orioles 3 still stands: Braves fall just short of breaking modern-day scoring record," 10 Sep. 2020 Don't let politicians off the hook easily on this important issue this fall, Levitt said. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Vague promises, 'pixie dust' not enough to maintain ACA protections," 10 Sep. 2020 Finneytown Local School District's phone line was ringing off the hook Tuesday morning as dozens of families called in online learning questions and technology glitches. Segann March, The Enquirer, "More Tristate students back to class as schools continue reopening. So, how's it going?," 9 Sep. 2020 That's not to let the travel industry off the hook. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "So you had a terrible vacation. Whose fault is that: The airline's? The hotel's? Or yours?," 5 Sep. 2020 In March, Foxx faced three primary challengers who attacked her handling of the Smollett case and questioned whether her office had let too many criminals off the hook. Mick Dumke, ProPublica, "As Trump Calls for Law and Order, Can Chicago’s Top Prosecutor Beat the Charge That She’s Soft on Crime?," 4 Sep. 2020 Instead, Taylor Hall and Oliver Ekman-Larsson couldn't complete a pass back to the point and the Coyotes let the Avalanche off the hook. Richard Morin, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Coyotes steamrolled by Colorado Avalanche, go down 3-1 in NHL playoff series," 17 Aug. 2020 Still, focusing solely on Washington's response to the pandemic would be letting the American public broadly off the hook, McElya said. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "Few signs of collective mourning as the US nears 170,000 coronavirus deaths," 16 Aug. 2020 But the executive orders don't mean Congress is off the hook, Braun said. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "Sen. Mike Braun on Indianapolis protests, pandemic, Biden/Harris and more," 13 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If the first two remarkable, laugh-out-loud pages don’t hook you, read no further. Don Oldenburg, USA TODAY, "Review: Kindness and compassion win the day in Fredrik Backman's 'Anxious People'," 9 Sep. 2020 The strong imagery and atmosphere will probably hook even those who had only been familiar with Atwood’s fiction. Washington Post, "Fall reading: 12 books to keep you occupied for the rest of 2020," 5 Sep. 2020 The researchers only managed to hook 14 of the individuals up to an ECG to check the heart's electrical activity during the period when these assays were suggesting there could be problems. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Evidence slowly building for long-term heart problems post-COVID-19," 3 Sep. 2020 The actor, 54, pointed out that the trailer only relies on a limited amount of movie magic to hook fans. Dana Rose Falcone, PEOPLE.com, "Colin Farrell Was So Unrecognizable as The Penguin on Batman Set That He Confused Costars," 31 Aug. 2020 The storm is expected to hook westward and likely reach Texas as a tropical depression Tuesday. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Marco moves closer to La., one of two storms threatening historic hit on Gulf Coast," 24 Aug. 2020 The scheme is usually dependent on bogus, often sophisticated, advertisements to hook unsuspecting consumers. Melissa Ramsey, Houston Chronicle, "BBB on Seniors: What’s a pandemic got to do with puppies?," 21 Aug. 2020 Strong and study, reviewers note its easy assembly, compactness, smoothness and, most of all, its ability to hook fish. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "The best fishing rods and poles, according to experts," 11 Aug. 2020 Another officer appears to hook his arm around a photographer’s neck and fling him to the ground. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Stamford march against police brutality turns violent," 11 Aug. 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.

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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

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

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