from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A curved or sharply bent device, usually of metal, used to catch, drag, suspend, or fasten something else.
  • noun A fishhook.
  • noun Something shaped like a hook, especially.
  • noun A curved or barbed plant or animal part.
  • noun A short angled or curved line on a letter.
  • noun A sickle.
  • noun A sharp bend or curve, as in a river.
  • noun A point or spit of land with a sharply curved end.
  • noun A means of catching or ensnaring; a trap.
  • noun A means of attracting interest or attention; an enticement.
  • noun Music A catchy motif or refrain.
  • noun A short swinging blow in boxing delivered with a crooked arm.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A stroke that sends a ball on such a course.
  • noun A ball propelled on such a course.
  • noun In surfing, the lip of a breaking wave.
  • noun Baseball A curve ball.
  • noun Basketball A hook shot.
  • intransitive verb To catch, suspend, or connect with a hook.
  • intransitive verb Informal To snare.
  • intransitive verb Slang To steal; snatch.
  • intransitive verb To fasten by a hook.
  • intransitive verb To pierce or gore with a hook.
  • intransitive verb To take strong hold of; captivate.
  • intransitive verb To cause to become addicted.
  • intransitive verb To make (a rug) by looping yarn through canvas with a type of hook.
  • intransitive verb To hit with a hook in boxing.
  • intransitive verb To hit (a golf ball) in a hook.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To pitch (a ball) with a curve.
  • intransitive verb Basketball To shoot (a ball) in a hook shot.
  • intransitive verb 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.
  • intransitive verb To bend like a hook.
  • intransitive verb To fasten by means of a hook or a hook and eye.
  • intransitive verb Slang To work as a prostitute.
  • idiom (by hook or by crook) By whatever means possible, fair or unfair.
  • idiom (get the hook) To be unceremoniously dismissed or terminated.
  • idiom (hook, line, and sinker) Without reservation; completely.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English hok, from Old English hōc; see keg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English hoke, from Old English hōc, from Proto-Germanic *hōkaz (cf. West Frisian/Dutch hoek 'hook, angle, corner', Low German Hook, Huuk 'id.'), variant of *hakōn 'hook'. More at hake.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word hook.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A letter than can be added to a word on the board, changing it into a new word. If it's done with more than one letter, it's called an extension.

    November 27, 2019