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

  • n. Sports A number one golf iron, having very little loft to the club face.
  • n. Sports A number four wood.
  • n. Scots A large hook, such as one used to hang a pot over a fire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large hook.
  • n. A metal headed golf club with little loft. Equivalent to a one or two iron a modern set of clubs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large hook or crook, as for a pot over a fire; specif., an iron-headed golf club with a straight, narrow face and a long shaft.
  • n. Act of cleeking; a clutch.
  • transitive v. To seize; clutch; snatch; catch; pluck.
  • transitive v. To catch or draw out with a cleek, as a fish; to hook.
  • transitive v. To hook or link (together); hence, to marry.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See cleik.


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

Middle English cleike, large hook, from cleken, to grasp, variant of clechen, from Old English *clǣcan; probably akin to clyccan, to clutch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Scots.



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  • David Crystal writes: "And I hadn't realized that classic crooks have hooks at both ends, one larger than the other. One is large enough to catch hold of a sheep's neck; the other end is smaller, for catching hold of the hind foot. He called it a 'leg cleek." (pp 8-9)

    And then: "It seems to have been a Scottish word originally, in the fifteenth century. A hook for catching hold of something, or pulling something, or hanging something up. Fishermen used it a lot. And then it turned up again in the nineteenth century, in gold, referring to a type of club." (p 9)

    And: "In parts of Scotland, to this day, if someone calls you cleeky, they mean you're grasping, captious." (p 9)

    And: "And in the jazz era it turned up again, meaning a wet blanket at a party, a party-pooper. Beatniks in the US used it in the 1960s for any sad or melancholy person." (p 9)

    If you can't tell, I just started reading By Hook or By Crook by David Crystal, and am loving it so far.

    December 14, 2008

  • Love it!

    April 16, 2007

  • For a minute, I thought you meant clique. I've never heard of a cleek!

    April 16, 2007

  • one iron, in old golf lingo

    April 16, 2007