\ 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

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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

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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

There’s a bleating, rat-a-tat quality to her hooks, which allows performers to convey personality in vocal inflection rather than range. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Charli XCX Is Probably Not the Future of Pop, and That’s Okay," 14 Sep. 2019 Given this and how his speed will scare defenders into backing off, his hook and curl routes could be lucrative. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Steelers’ Weaknesses on Both Sides of the Ball Exposed in Loss to Patriots," 11 Sep. 2019 Ferrell told his fellow rookie after baiting his hook. Jon Becker, The Mercury News, "Here’s how Raiders made sure ‘Hard Knocks’ wasn’t a distraction," 4 Sep. 2019 My summer days were filled with long bike treks in search of bass, bluegills, catfish and carp and any other specie that would dare feast on my simple hook and line efforts of garden worms or the occasional doughball. Jim Gronaw, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Jim Gronaw: When kids go fishing, it sure is fun," 24 Aug. 2019 The tween was in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins after spying two overripe bananas hanging from their hook. Jeff Bogle, Good Housekeeping, "My Daughters are Ditching Their Big Dreams for Their Cell Phones," 8 Aug. 2019 The Jones boys live on Fowl River and love to wet their hooks trolling around offshore wrecks. Michael Dumas, al.com, "Fishing rodeo features big fish, crowds and smooth seas," 20 July 2019 Hartlage also created a coatrack for the mudroom; its hooks are made of shoes from a horse at Churchill Downs. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "Homearama house in Dove Point Estates inspired by the Mediterranean coast," 11 July 2019 And Buehler was still in the game because Roberts attempted to get some extra innings from his young starter instead of employing his customary quick hook. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "Grandal’s woes, quiet LA bats doom Dodgers in NLCS Game 3," 15 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Experts say Purdue created the opioid crisis by getting the nation hooked on OxyContin. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan involved in settlement talks with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma," 12 Sep. 2019 Three analysts who Fortune spoke to don’t view Apple TV+ as a significant source of revenue for Apple, but rather another way for the tech giant to keep its users hooked on Apple products. Fortune, "Netflix Killer? Here’s What Analysts Say About Apple TV Plus," 11 Sep. 2019 Mills said the Chicago experience left her hooked on crack and then opioids. USA Today, "Trapped and trafficked: Officials in small Ohio town accused of sex trafficking underage girls," 5 Sep. 2019 Caroline Swanson got hooked on engineering in kindergarten. oregonlive.com, "West Linn grad returns to the Portland metro area for job at Nike," 17 Aug. 2019 Dahlia, a 4-year-old black and brown pit bull mix, somehow got her teeth hooked on the bars of her cage just after noon Friday and her mouth was stuck wide open. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, "Firefighters rescue pit bull with its mouth stuck to cage," 10 Aug. 2019 Albany says about half of them are hooked on crystal meth. Finding Joe Murphy, Freep.com, "Joe Murphy, Red Wings' No. 1 pick, is homeless again — and refusing help," 8 Aug. 2019 Appealing to fans, and getting folks hooked on a few more shows now, might make a difference. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "HBO's Next Big Idea: Recommendations From Actual Humans," 6 Aug. 2019 The inside of the hut comes equipped with portable cribs, high chairs and potty seats for those getting their kids hooked on hut trips at an early age. Ryan Wichelns, The Know, "The best hut trips in Colorado for summertime adventures," 18 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.

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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 2019

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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 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

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

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