a. A curved or sharply bent device, usually of metal, used to catch, drag, suspend, or fasten something else.
b. A fishhook.
2. Something shaped like a hook, especially:
a. A curved or barbed plant or animal part.
b. A short angled or curved line on a letter.
c. A sickle.
a. A sharp bend or curve, as in a river.
b. A point or spit of land with a sharply curved end.
4. A means of catching or ensnaring; a trap.
a. A means of attracting interest or attention; an enticement: a sales hook.
b. Music A catchy motif or refrain: "sugary hard rock melodies [and] ear candy hooks" (Boston Globe).
a. A short swinging blow in boxing delivered with a crooked arm.
b. The course of a ball that curves in a direction away from the dominant hand of the player propelling it, as to the left of a right-handed player.
c. A stroke that sends a ball on such a course.
d. A ball propelled on such a course.
e. In surfing, the lip of a breaking wave.
7. Baseball A curve ball.
8. Basketball A hook shot.
v. hooked, hook·ing, hooks
a. To catch, suspend, or connect with a hook.
b. Informal To snare.
c. Slang To steal; snatch.
2. To fasten by a hook.
3. To pierce or gore with a hook.
a. To take strong hold of; captivate: a novel that hooked me on the very first page.
b. To cause to become addicted.
5. To make (a rug) by looping yarn through canvas with a type of hook.
a. To hit with a hook in boxing.
b. To hit (a golf ball) in a hook.
7. Baseball To pitch (a ball) with a curve.
8. Basketball To shoot (a ball) in a hook shot.
9. Sports To impede the progress of (an opponent in ice hockey) by holding or restraining the player with one's stick, in violation of the rules.
1. To bend like a hook.
2. To fasten by means of a hook or a hook and eye.
3. Slang To work as a prostitute.
1. To assemble or wire (a mechanism).
2. To connect a mechanism and a source of power.
a. To meet or associate: We agreed to hook up after class. He hooked up with the wrong crowd.
b. To become sexually involved with someone, especially casually.
c. To marry or get married.
by hook or by crook
By whatever means possible, fair or unfair.
get the hook Slang
To be unceremoniously dismissed or terminated.
hook, line, and sinker Informal
Without reservation; completely: swallowed the excuse hook, line, and sinker.
off the hook Informal
Freed, as from blame or a vexatious obligation: let me off the hook with a mild reprimand.
on (one's) own hook
By one's own efforts.
[Middle English hok, from Old English hōc; see keg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.