\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

Dolla $ign -- who has blossomed into a premier feature artist this year -- continues his hot streak with yet another sticky hook. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Fabolous & Ty Dolla $ign Team Up For Summer Banger 'Ooh Yea': Listen," 13 July 2018 Nicole Nikolich, 26, is a colorful Philadelphia street artist with a crochet hook. Claire Wolters, Philly.com, "Meet the Philly artist who yarn bombing around the city to attract Taylor Swift's attention," 10 July 2018 Meanwhile, technology firms are attacking all parts of the property transaction process with hooks and grapples to the blockchain. Joanne Cleaver, chicagotribune.com, "Could blockchain technology transform homebuying in Cook County — and beyond?," 9 July 2018 Our Kids Can, a nonprofit that commissioned him to compose, produce and sing original songs with an infectious hook for their digital, kid-centric learning system. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, "Local musician writes inspiring songs for students," 8 July 2018 Jordan marries an irresistible guitar riff with a pathos-laden hook. Michael Rosen, SFChronicle.com, "Snail Mail on tour with debut ‘Lush’ while it seeks a new sound," 20 June 2018 The songs, by Keegan DeWitt from the band Wild Cub, are infectiously indie with sturdy pop hooks while the cast (including Toni Collette, Sasha Lane, Ted Danson and Blythe Danner) is equally strong. Cary Darling, Houston Chronicle, "New movies: ‘Jurassic World’ unleashes more dinos," 20 June 2018 The practice of catching (or attempting to catch) fish with a hook is known as angling. Cassie Armstrong, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Go Fishing Day: How to observe in Central Florida," 18 June 2018 Another lure that works well at the humps is a butterfly or vertical jig, which is a slab of metal painted to look like a fish with a free-swinging hook. Steve Waters, miamiherald, "Fishing for blackfin tunas? Here is a great and fun place in the Florida Keys to do that," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Wore seamed stockings hooked to a suspender belt, tight pencil skirts and soft, brightly colored cashmere sweaters. Shirley Manson, New York Times, "Shirley Manson: The First Time I Cut Myself," 3 July 2018 Leon was never admitted but spent those hours hooked to medical equipment in the emergency room. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "A Harvard study says 4,600 have died in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. The government’s tally is 64," 29 May 2018 Leon was never admitted but spent those hours hooked to medical equipment in the emergency room. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Harvard study estimates thousands died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria," 29 May 2018 Leon was never admitted but spent those hours hooked to medical equipment in the emergency room. Washington Post, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Harvard study estimates thousands died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria," 29 May 2018 On the pivotal final hole, Welch hooked his tee shot way left, but the ball went well past the large trees on the left. Richard Dean, Houston Chronicle, "Clear Springs edges Kingwood to win Region III-6A boys golf tourney," 27 Apr. 2018 According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, Singletary discovered the fish hooked to his line on April 11. Brett Clarkson, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Florida fisherman catches a freakishly huge 120-pound catfish, and the photos are incredible," 25 Apr. 2018 Using the dough hook (if using a stand mixer) or a fork or wooden spoon (if mixing by hand), slowly mix in the remaining flour mixture, a spoonful at a time, until all of the flour is added and a firm, thick dough is formed. Noelle Carter, charlotteobserver, "Grilling burgers this summer? Up your game with these homemade bun recipes," 6 July 2018 Rodriguez hooks in a cross, and Seferovic has a chance! The Associated Press, New York Times, "Sweden Makes World Cup Quarterfinals for First Time Since 1994," 5 July 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

10 Nov 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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