\ 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 Allred was among the first few hundred users to join, in early April, and got hooked right away. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "What Is Clubhouse, and Why Does Silicon Valley Care?," 22 May 2020 Supermarket shoppers snapped them up, and then were hooked on buying the rest. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "Stanley Moser, Virtuoso Encyclopedia Marketer, Dies at 88," 6 May 2020 The manager is 44 and already was hooked on baseball when Clark was helping the Giants win division titles in 1987 and 1989 and reach the ’89 World Series. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "The day former Giant Will Clark dropped in on Gabe Kapler’s coaches’ meeting," 17 Apr. 2020 With spring break travel canceled, my husband has fulfilled his lifelong dream of getting our son hooked on Dungeons and Dragons. Rachel Schallom, Fortune, "Diary of a lockdown: What it feels like in 16 cities during the pandemic," 21 Mar. 2020 Nothing ever happened with the movie script, but Donaldson was hooked on the treasures at the Sand Point archives. Author: Erik Lacitis, Anchorage Daily News, "Decision to close National Archives at Seattle deals a blow to tribes, historians in Pacific NW and Alaska," 27 Jan. 2020 Back pain is the main reason why Europeans drop out of work and a big reason why Americans get hooked on opioids. The Economist, "Backs on the rack Vast sums are wasted on treatments for back pain that make it worse," 18 Jan. 2020 This Old Stone Oven round pizza stone is what got me further hooked on home cooking. Popular Science, "I tried a bajillion new products this year. Here are 17 you should actually buy.," 16 Dec. 2019 Eventually, executives reasoned, the viewers who got hooked on the content for free would eventually pay up when judgment day came. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Steal Your Friend's Netflix Password While You Still Can," 8 Nov. 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 1 Jun. 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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