\ 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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for hook

Synonyms: Noun

bang, bash, bat, beat, belt, biff, blow, bop, box, buffet, bust, chop, clap, clip, clout, crack, cuff, dab, douse [British], fillip, hack, haymaker, hit, knock, larrup [dialect], lash, lick, pelt, pick, plump, poke, pound, punch, rap, slam, slap, slug, smack, smash, sock, spank, stinger, stripe, stroke, swat, swipe, switch, thud, thump, thwack, wallop, welt, whack, wham, whop (also whap)

Synonyms: Verb

arch, bend, bow, crook, curve, swerve

Antonyms: Verb

straighten, unbend, uncurl

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some labs accused of billing Medicare for unnecessary genetic tests — including Millennium Health and Companion DX Reference Lab — agreed to repay the government but declared bankruptcy before doing so, leaving taxpayers on the hook. NBC News, "Genetic-testing scam targets seniors and rips off Medicare," 31 July 2019 That prompted the homeowners association to quickly declare bankruptcy, but the tactic may not save residents from being on the hook for their share of the judgment. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, "Lake County subdivision residents worry over $4.1M jury award in dispute involving cable, phone service," 26 July 2019 After its part in exposing the sensitive information of hundreds of millions of Americans, Equifax is now on the hook for a $700 million settlement — and some of it could be yours. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Affected by the Equifax Data Scandal? You Can Now File a Claim for $125 or More," 25 July 2019 While the district, school site and graduation ticket sales generated some funding, Burbank High graduates and their families were on the hook for $36,000. Andrew J. Campa, Burbank Leader, "Burbank High School seniors will need to pay again to keep graduations on campus," 16 July 2019 The problem is that Mr Salvini has antagonised the commission and northern member states, which are wary of being on the hook for other countries’ profligacy. The Economist, "Will Matteo Salvini wreck the euro?," 11 July 2019 The result is effervescent pop hooks delivered with reckless abandon and the chugging post-Ramones guitars of classic pop-punk. Ed Masley, azcentral, "July concerts in Phoenix: Shawn Mendes, Queen & Adam Lambert, DaBaby, Third Eye Blind," 2 July 2019 The rubber-bodied lure was almost entirely in the musky’s mouth, all four hooks. John Diedrich, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Why musky fishing — in the dark, sometimes involving blood — is the only fishing for me," 2 July 2019 The result is a hook or hornlike feature jutting out from the skull, just above the neck. nola.com, "Horns are growing on young people’s skulls; researchers blame phone use," 22 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This will hook in with HomeKit routines and give you easy access to setting a mood. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Here are the latest smart home devices to integrate with Apple's HomeKit," 1 Aug. 2019 The Traveling Lantern Theatre Company hooked into this year’s Collaborative Summer Reading Program theme, A Universe of Stories, with an original play, My Mother, the Astronaut, written by artistic director Doren Elias. Kitty Leshay, courant.com, "Traveling Lantern Actors Educate, Entertain," 26 July 2019 In San Francisco Bay, in what is believed a first-ever event, Joey Gamez of Golden Gate Sport Fishing accidently hooked an 8-foot great white shark near Alcatraz. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Great white sharks show up in huge numbers along the coast," 26 July 2019 Some countries propose hooking poor rural customers up to the grid, but this is expensive. The Economist, "African countries plan to build dozens of coal-fired power stations," 25 July 2019 Rabil and his brother, entrepreneur Mike Rabil, hooked investors like Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the Raine Group, Joe Tsai Sports, the Chernin Group, and Blum Capital -- plus a broadcasting partnership with NBC Sports. Finley Frechette And Lauren Del Valle, CNN, "One of the fastest growing sports in the world has a new US pro league: Lacrosse," 25 July 2019 The shows hooked millions of viewers with picture-postcard views of Sicilian towns. Francis D’emilio, Los Angeles Times, "Andrea Camilleri, author of Montalbano detective series, dies at 93," 23 July 2019 Once hooked, guide the dog's legs into the two holes. Maddie Hiatt, House Beautiful, "This Is The ONLY Way To Carry Your Dog Around With You," 23 July 2019 The case is the latest in a years-long public reckoning over the prescription painkillers that have wreaked havoc in the US, getting millions hooked, killing hundreds of thousands, and leaving vulnerable communities devastated. Stephie Grob Plante, Vox, "Walmart and CVS are among the retailers being sued for aiding the spread of opioids," 23 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hook

Statistics for hook

Last Updated

4 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hook

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hook

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hook

Spanish Central: Translation of hook

Nglish: Translation of hook for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hook for Arabic Speakers

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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!