1 of 4

noun (1)

: a common Old World gregarious crow (Corvus frugilegus) that nests and roosts in usually treetop colonies

Illustration of rook

Illustration of rook


2 of 4


rooked; rooking; rooks

transitive verb

: to defraud by cheating or swindling


3 of 4

noun (2)

: either of two pieces of each color in a set of chessmen having the power to move along the ranks or files across any number of unoccupied squares

called also castle


4 of 4

noun (3)

: rookie

Examples of rook in a Sentence

Verb once you learn to recognize these swindler's tricks, no one will be able to use them to rook you Noun (3) every year the coaches have to deal with rooks who don't know the rules yet
Recent Examples on the Web
The nearly fifty species of crow, which include ravens and rooks, emerged long before human civilization. Ben Crair, The New Yorker, 5 Mar. 2024 No thoughts, besides appreciation for the rooks who taunt him from his field. Hillary Kelly, The Atlantic, 11 Mar. 2024 One of the most notorious puzzles, devised by the mathematician Sir Roger Penrose in 2017, puts stronger black pieces (such as the queen and rooks) on the board, but in awkward positions. Stephen Ornes, WIRED, 18 Feb. 2024 Your moves will be mostly predictable, and so will your team’s, because everyone knows roughly how knights and rooks move. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2023 In the 1981 book A Short History of Chess, Davidson Henry explains that castling, a move where your rook and king change places, didn’t exist in its current form until the 17th century. Chazz Mair, Wired, 8 Mar. 2021 Known locally as Johnny rooks, these mischievous, playful and often destructive falcons excel at problem-solving, acting rather like keas, a highly intelligent alpine parrot that lives in the mountains of New Zealand. Grrlscientist, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 Of the 15 Johnny rooks that Ms. Harrington tested, all solved at least one puzzle, and 10 of them figured out all eight — without any prior training. Darren Incorvaia, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Game pieces consist of pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, a queen, and a king, and there are different rules about how each piece can move. Julianne Hilmes Bartlett, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Mar. 2022
The state says Trump rooked his way into the financing, at attractive interest rates, by padding his wealth. Michael R. Sisak, Fortune, 16 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rook.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English hrōc; akin to Old High German hruoch rook

Noun (2)

Middle English rok, from Anglo-French roc, from Arabic rukhkh, from Persian rukh

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1595, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1905, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rook was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near rook

Cite this Entry

“Rook.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
: a common Old World crow that nests and sleeps in groups usually in treetops


2 of 3 verb


3 of 3 noun
: a chessman that can move parallel to the sides of the board across any number of unoccupied squares


Old English hrōc "crowlike bird"


Middle English rok "chess piece," from early French roc (same meaning), from Arabic rukhkh (same meaning); of Persian origin

More from Merriam-Webster on rook

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