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From Middle English hoke, from Old English hōc, from Proto-Germanic *hōkaz (compare West Frisian/Dutch hoek (hook, angle, corner), Low German Hook, Huuk), variant of *hakô (hook) (compare Dutch Low Saxon hoake (hook)). Probably ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *kog-, *keg-, *keng- (peg, hook, claw). More at hake.


  • enPR: ho͝ok, IPA(key): /hʊk/
  • (obsolete) enPR: ho͞ok IPA(key): /huːk/[1]
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊk


A hook on a construction crane.
A right hook (boxing).
A hook shot in basketball.

hook (plural hooks)

  1. a rod bent into a curved shape, typically with one end free and the other end secured to a rope or other attachment
  2. a fishhook, a barbed metal hook used for fishing
  3. any of various hook-shaped agricultural implements such as a billhook
    • Alexander Pope
      like slashing Bentley with his desperate hook
    • 1819, Keats, To Autumn
      Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
      Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers;
  4. (informal) a ship's anchor
  5. the curved needle used in the art of crochet
  6. the part of a hinge which is fixed to a post, and on which a door or gate hangs and turns
  7. a loop shaped like a hook under certain written letters, e.g. g and j
  8. (music) a catchy musical phrase which forms the basis of a popular song
    The song's hook snared me.
    • 2017 January 20, Annie Zaleski, “AFI sounds refreshed and rejuvenated on its 10th album, AFI (The Blood Album)”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      Guitarist Jade Puget and vocalist Davey Havok have distilled AFI’s strengths (a ferocious, post-hardcore rhythmic backbone; goth-tinctured, post-punky guitars; and Havok’s desperate, dramatic croon) into 14 taut, hook-driven songs.
  9. (authorship) a brief, punchy opening statement intended to get attention from an audience, reader, or viewer, and make them want to continue to listen to a speech, read a book, or watch a play
  10. (authorship) a gimmick or element of a creative work intended to be attention-grabbing for the audience; a compelling idea for a story that will be sure to attract people's attention
  11. a tie-in to a current event or trend that makes a news story or editorial relevant and timely
  12. (informal) removal or expulsion from a group or activity
    He is not handling this job, so we're giving him the hook.
  13. (cricket) a type of shot played by swinging the bat in a horizontal arc, hitting the ball high in the air to the leg side, often played to balls which bounce around head height
  14. (baseball) a curveball
    He threw a hook in the dirt.
  15. (programming) Part of a system's operation that can be intercepted to change or augment its behaviour.
    We've added hooks to allow undefined message types to be handled with custom code.
  16. (golf) a golf shot that (for the right-handed player) curves unintentionally to the left. See draw, slice, fade
  17. (basketball) a basketball shot in which the offensive player, usually turned perpendicular to the basket, gently throws the ball with a sweeping motion of his arm in an upward arc with a follow-through which ends over his head. Also called hook shot.
  18. (boxing) a type of punch delivered with the arm rigid and partially bent and the fist travelling nearly horizontally mesially along an arc
    The heavyweight delivered a few powerful hooks that staggered his opponent.
    • 2011 December 18, Ben Dirs, “Carl Froch outclassed by dazzling Andre Ward”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      American Ward was too quick and too slick for his British rival, landing at will with razor sharp jabs and hooks and even bullying Froch at times.
  19. (slang) A jack (the playing card)
  20. (typography) a diacritical mark shaped like the upper part of a question mark: .
  21. (typography, rare) a háček.
    • 2003, Language Issues XV–XVIII, page 36
      Common diacritics in Slavonic language are the hook ˇ (as in haček – Czech for ‘hook’) and the stroke ´ (robić – Polish for ‘do/make’).
    • 2003, David Adams, The Song and Duet Texts of Antonín Dvořák, page 168
      In Czech, palatalization is normally indicated by the symbol ˇ, called haček or “hook.”
    • 2004, Keesing’s Record of World Events L:i–xii, page unknown
      In detailing the proposed shortening of the Czech Republic to Česko…the hook (hacek) erroneously appeared over the letter “e” instead of the “C”.
  22. (Scrabble) an instance of playing a word perpendicular to a word already on the board, adding a letter to the start or the end of the word to form a new word
    • 2003, Andrew Fisher, David Webb, The Art of Scrabble[4], →ISBN, page 58:
      Setup plays can also be made when you do not have the needed letter but believe your opponent doesn't know the hook owing to its obscurity.
  23. (bowling) a ball that is rolled in a curved line
    • 1969, Harold Keith, Sports and Games[5], page 102:
      However, for pins on the bowler's right, such as the 3, 6, 9, or 10, move more toward the center of the foul line if you bowl a straight ball or slightly to the left of the center of the foul line if you bowl a hook.
  24. (bridge, slang) a finesse
  25. a snare; a trap
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  26. a field sown two years in succession
  27. (in the plural) the projecting points of the thighbones of cattle; called also hook bones
  28. (geography) a spit or narrow cape of sand or gravel turned landward at the outer end, such as Sandy Hook in New Jersey


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



hook (third-person singular simple present hooks, present participle hooking, simple past and past participle hooked)

  1. (transitive) To attach a hook to.
    Hook the bag here, and the conveyor will carry it away.
  2. (transitive) To catch with a hook (hook a fish).
    He hooked a snake accidentally, and was so scared he dropped his rod into the water.
  3. (transitive) To work yarn into a fabric using a hook; to crochet.
    • 1917, L M Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams
      No one seems to want anything but hooked mats now.
  4. (transitive) To insert in a curved way reminiscent of a hook.
    He hooked his fingers through his belt loops.
  5. (transitive) To ensnare someone, as if with a hook.
    She's only here to try to hook a husband.
    A free trial is a good way to hook customers.
  6. (Britain, US, slang, archaic) To steal.
  7. (transitive) To connect (hook into, hook together).
    If you hook your network cable into the jack, you'll be on the network.
  8. (usually in passive) To make addicted; to captivate.
    He had gotten hooked on cigarettes in his youth.
    I watched one episode of that TV series and now I'm hooked.
  9. (cricket, golf) To play a hook shot.
  10. (rugby) To succeed in heeling the ball back out of a scrum (used particularly of the team's designated hooker).
  11. (field hockey, ice hockey) To engage in the illegal maneuver of hooking (i.e., using the hockey stick to trip or block another player)
    The opposing team's forward hooked me, but the referee didn't see it, so no penalty.
  12. (soccer) To swerve a ball; kick a ball so it swerves or bends.
    • 2010 December 29, Sam Sheringham, “Liverpool 0 - 1 Wolverhampton”, in BBC[6]:
      The Reds carved the first opening of the second period as Glen Johnson's pull-back found David Ngog but the Frenchman hooked wide from six yards.
  13. (intransitive, slang) To engage in prostitution.
    I had a cheap flat in the bad part of town, and I could watch the working girls hooking from my bedroom window.
  14. (Scrabble) To play a word perpendicular to another word by adding a single letter to the existing word.
  15. (bridge, slang) To finesse.
  16. (transitive) To seize or pierce with the points of the horns, as cattle in attacking enemies; to gore.
  17. (intransitive) To move or go with a sudden turn.

Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ John Walker (1824) A critical pronouncing dictionary[1], page 300