Word of the Day: hook

Word of the Day
June 23, 2016
hook (noun, verb)
/hʊk/  sound icon
A hook is a curved piece of metal or wood, used for holding something, and, in particular, the metal piece at the end of a fishing line. Figuratively, hook is any sort of trap and anything that catches someone's attention. In boxing it is also a punch, or hit, with a bent elbow. To hook means 'to curve like a hook' or 'to catch something with or as if with a hook' and informally, it means 'to steal something secretly.'


Example sentences
Mike hung his coat on the hook.
Abigail put bait on the hook and cast her fishing line into the water.
The con men caught a lot of unsuspecting people on their hook.
The advertising agency came up with a clever hook to get people interested in their product.
The boxer floored his opponent with a powerful right hook.
The river hooks to the left here.
The angler hooked the fish.
The thief hooked the wallet out of the man's pocket.


Multi-word forms
on the hook: figuratively, to be caught or ensnared by someone or something. Example: "Robert is a real smooth-talker and he's certainly got Angela on the hook."
off the hook: out of a difficult situation. Example: "The boss thought my mistake had been made by another employee who had already left the firm, which let me off the hook!"
hook up (slang): to become romantically involved with or have a brief sexual relationship with. Example: "Did you hear that Marie and Tony hooked up last week? I don't think they have any plans to become a couple though!" "Jane and her husband hooked up in high school and they've been together ever since." In the sexual sense, hook up can actually be very vague and can have a very range of meanings, from kissing to sexual intercourse.
by hook or by crook: by any means possible. Example: "This is a really difficult task, but I'm determined to succeed by hook or by crook."
Did you know?
As a verb, usually used in the passive, hook can also mean 'to make someone addicted to drugs' or, by extension, it can refer to any other thing or activity that someone enjoys to an extent that other people might think is excessive. Example: "The dealer hooked Anne on heroin." "Simon is hooked on that new TV show; he can't stop watching it and when he's not watching it, he's talking about it!"
Other forms
hooklike (adjective)
Hook, as a noun, has been around since before 900. It comes to us from the Old English noun hōc, through the Middle English noun hoke which was a 'bent piece of metal.' The verb has been used since the 13th century, and comes from the Middle English word hoken, meaning 'to bend.' It is related to the Dutch word hoek, meaning 'hook, angle or corner,' the German word Haken, and the Old Norse word haki.
Hook in other languages
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