Definition of hook in English:



  • 1A piece of metal or other material, curved or bent back at an angle, for catching hold of or hanging things on.

    ‘a picture hook’
    • ‘She looked at her shoulder and saw that her laced up dress was caught on a hook.’
    • ‘Earlier in the trial, a fire investigation officer told the court the fire spread rapidly through the flat as it took hold of clothing hanging on hooks behind a door where it started.’
    • ‘I also need a hammer and nails, picture hooks and the step ladder.’
    • ‘They once hung my little brother by the tag of his coat to metal hooks along the bus interior; which isn't to say he didn't somehow deserve it.’
    • ‘This may seem strange at first, but think about your own home and how much the need for redecoration would become apparent once you started taking pictures and hooks off walls or moving out sofas, bookcases and beds.’
    • ‘If only I can locate it - that's proving harder to find than the adhesive plastic hooks.’
    • ‘My grandpa had the most impressive collection of picture hooks and picture hanging implements that I have ever seen.’
    • ‘We talked about the problems his father had encountered when he first lost his arm, with doctors in the UK telling him the best they could offer was a metal hook.’
    • ‘Toni shut the door, and I grabbed the towel off the hook by the sink.’
    • ‘This should be as neat and clean as the interior of the house, windows gleaming and tools hung neatly on hooks on the wall.’
    • ‘The film gives us a sense of symmetry when, at the end, we see that upstairs hallway dotted with picture hooks - all but one of the photographs are gone.’
    • ‘Here, workers grab birds by their feet and sling them on to fast-moving metal hooks.’
    • ‘Objects with a wide variety of weight can be supported by a metal hook on a long tapered nail driven at an angle into the plaster.’
    • ‘Nearby on the floor sat her knitting basket, from which she leaned over and pulled a crochet hook and a ball of gold-colored yarn from.’
    • ‘They sometimes used electricity, but often simply tied men's arms behind their backs and then suspended them from the wrists from large metal hooks welded to a pipe across the ceiling.’
    • ‘There was a hook where a picture once hung, with horrid marks where the picture had been.’
    • ‘My mother was a nut for hanging plants, so there was always one pot of greenery or another hanging from the ceiling on a hook.’
    • ‘An easy way to alter the look of your room is to update details like drawer pulls, towel bars, shower controls, robe hooks and soap holders.’
    • ‘There was a wonderful ice-cold larder with big hooks for hanging game.’
    • ‘A small coat hook protruded from the wall to his left.’
    • ‘I draped his coat on an empty hook and walked into the kitchen.’
    • ‘For hanging coat hooks, tightening door hinges and replacing washers in the toilet-tank float valve you'll need a set of screwdrivers.’
    • ‘Those who have left keys dangling on hooks near the front door have learned the hard way.’
    • ‘At Axelle Fine Arts, the gallery uses a hanging system that consists of two hooks and wire.’
    peg, holder
    fastener, fastening, catch, clasp, hasp, clip, pin, buckle, hook and eye
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A bent piece of metal, typically barbed and baited, for catching fish.
      • ‘Try different baits on each of the hooks, it will soon become evident what the fish prefer.’
      • ‘I was mortified to find that I didn't remember how to bait a hook.’
      • ‘He took out a vicious-looking fish hook from behind his back.’
      • ‘A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat, a 4x4 truck and a tent?’
      • ‘The line is what connects your pole to the hook and the bait.’
      • ‘Albatrosses fall prey to longlines, baited hooks stretched for miles across the oceans by commercial fishing fleets.’
      • ‘They have delicate mouthparts, so it's really unkind to use barbed hooks on the poor things.’
      • ‘Eddie, although blind, fillets his own mackerel, and baits his own hooks.’
      • ‘Two men are sitting on the jetty, fixing bait to hooks and casting fishing-lines out into the water, chatting quietly in Spanish and sipping from bottles of pop.’
      • ‘It is now time to secure the hook to the end of the line, and attach the bait to the hook.’
      • ‘Aaron took a seat next to his brother and baited his hook.’
      • ‘The 46-year old captain was stabbed several times in the chest and head with a fish hook, the Star said.’
      • ‘Their rods and lines are too heavy, their hooks and baits too large.’
      • ‘After baiting the hook, you lower the line into the water and wait for the fish to bite while you watch TV or play cards.’
      • ‘‘Once you learn how to tie your own lures and bait your own hook, you can go anyplace,’ Oyler says.’
      • ‘She baited her hook with a few worms and they spent most of the morning fishing.’
      • ‘Once the boat had settled we shipped the oars, got out our lines, baited the hooks and dropped them over the gunwale.’
      • ‘Whether you're bait fishing or fly fishing don't think of using hooks less than size 6 or 8.’
      • ‘Ben had tried to show her how to bait a hook earlier, but Inger felt too much sympathy for the poor worms to skewer them successfully.’
      • ‘Large sea fish were caught in nets which floated below the surface of the sea and others were caught with hooks and lines.’
      fish hook, barb, snare, trap
      View synonyms
  • 2A thing designed to catch people's attention.

    ‘companies are looking for a sales hook’
    • ‘One of the great things about blogging is that you don't need a news hook; you can write about whatever catches your eye.’
    • ‘It is the hook that gets attention and influences the purchase decision.’
    • ‘Throughout all the books, the poems become the hook for students to listen more closely to the mood and images created by Kelsey.’
    • ‘They only added that feature a few months ago, and have suddenly decided that's their hook to get attention.’
    • ‘A good trailer is a hook, designed to leave you irresistibly compelled to come back one more time.’
    • ‘The hook that caught him was the girl's attitude.’
    • ‘There are many people who take the human capacity for faith and use it as a hook, a tool with which to harm others.’
    1. 2.1 A chorus or repeated instrumental passage in a piece of popular music that gives it immediate appeal and makes it easy to remember.
      • ‘Sporting a big beat sound with catchy hooks isn't enough nowadays.’
      • ‘This is good middle of the road music - there aren't any ambitious highs, but no horrible lows either - just a few Canadian boys and their catchy, happy hooks.’
      • ‘This is where she is at her best, with simple song structure and deft musical hooks reeling in the listener.’
      • ‘One thing this album could use is more catchy hooks and distinctive melodies though.’
      • ‘Most of the songs feature solemn, at times almost whispered, vocals, with several songs employing haunting, catchy hooks.’
      • ‘And of course, there are no big choruses or infectious hooks to get you humming along.’
      • ‘He certainly is an amazing pop songwriter, dropping catchy hooks and tasteful riffs left and right.’
      • ‘The true highlight of this song is the vocal hook of the chorus, a classic.’
      • ‘It is quickly followed by another acoustic gem, No Goodbyes, which contains some beautiful melodies and genuinely catchy hooks.’
      • ‘There are no hooks, choruses and sometimes little in the way of melody, but it's an example of an album that I could imagine anyone enjoying.’
      • ‘The tunes are great, and the hooks are catchy, and that's all we're asking for these days.’
      • ‘The label immediately seized upon their talent for blending edgy, high-pitched vocals with catchy guitar hooks, as epitomised by Float On.’
      • ‘But underneath lie a collection of catchy melodies and hooks evoking in turns the Beach Boys, Beck or early seventies avant-pop.’
      • ‘Oddly enough, the album finds a reinvigorated Bolan crafting some of his best hooks and calibrating his catchiest grooves in years.’
      • ‘After three strong tracks there's a run of tunes that simply lack any hooks or strong choruses.’
      • ‘They were never the most groundbreaking band on the planet, but their catchy hooks and honest energy made them a lovable presence in the indie scene of my youth.’
      • ‘As Lipstick Traces demonstrates, even the band's B-sides feature catchy hooks, witty lyrics and solid rock song structures and dynamics.’
      • ‘Given the lack of catchy hooks, however, it's clear that they still have a thing or two to learn about songwriting.’
      • ‘Songs don't matter, it's all about hooks, choruses, catchy tunes.’
      • ‘The foot-tapping Hamoa Beach, meanwhile, is simply a great listen, featuring some more tremendous hooks and another catchy chorus.’
      refrain, burden, strain
      View synonyms
  • 3A curved cutting instrument, especially as used for reaping or shearing.

    • ‘The gang attacked him in the doorway of the hotel where he was working, armed with slash hooks and hammers after hearing his English accent.’
    • ‘In summer for the wheat harvest, everybody was given a reaping hook to work in the fields.’
    • ‘He arranged two lines of men with flails, clubs, pitchforks, sickles, and reaping hooks.’
    billhook, scythe, sickle
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  • 4A short swinging punch made with the elbow bent, especially in boxing.

    ‘a perfectly timed right hook to the chin’
    • ‘Cintron's hooks, uppercuts, and overhand rights dictated the fight and the win.’
    • ‘He had a good long hard jab, his left hook and left uppercut were devastating punches.’
    • ‘Norton began to score with left hooks and overhand rights.’
    • ‘Expect a large assortment of straights, jabs, uppercuts, hooks, and more.’
    • ‘Mike's favorite punch is the right hook and my favorite punch is his left hook, so we disagree in what his best shot is.’
    • ‘Then I followed it up with a right hook that caught him in the ribs.’
    • ‘Round 14 is literally about the logistics of countering a hook with an uppercut.’
    • ‘Foster possessed one of the most powerful punches ever seen on a light heavyweight, his left hook.’
    • ‘She responds with a right hook and catches him off guard.’
    • ‘A left hook from British Boxer Henry Cooper floored Cassius Clay at Wembley in 1963.’
    • ‘In the fourth round Quarry stunned Orbillo with a counter hook off the ropes.’
    • ‘Pendleton went down face first from the short left hook behind his elbow and had no chance of meeting the count.’
    • ‘He was catching Klitschko with upper cuts and hooks.’
    • ‘In a pulsating third round Mick finally began to impose his will and power, and with some excellent uppercuts and hooks forced the referee to administer two standing eight counts to Hodson.’
    • ‘Ryan threw a right hook, catching the bully in the jaw.’
    • ‘Martin continues to press and throw hooks to the body.’
    • ‘In the process he was caught by a left hook which left him entangled on the ropes.’
    • ‘I had chances to throw the left hook, my best punch, but I couldn't get my shoulder up.’
    • ‘By the end of the round Ellis is pinned against the ropes and Frazier is landing body shots and short hooks to the head.’
    • ‘Barry charged out of his corner and continued to rake Steve with left hooks to the body but the punches were becoming noticeably slower.’
    punch, blow, hit, box, cuff, thump, smack, crack, knock, thwack
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 A stroke which makes the ball deviate in flight in the direction of the follow-through (from right to left for a right-handed player), typically inadvertently.
      Compare with slice
      • ‘I hit a few hooks, slices, low shots and high fades.’
      • ‘An important point to remember is that orienting a shaft in a way that might correct a hook or a slice remains an infraction of the rules.’
      • ‘Nobody has trouble putting sidespin on the ball - that's what produces hooks and slices.’
      • ‘Too often players subconsciously misalign their shoulders to compensate for their usual hook or slice.’
      • ‘The wind heightens any spin on the ball, and accentuates a slice or a hook.’
  • 5A curved stroke in handwriting, especially as made in learning to write.

    • ‘Place the pen on the paper, pull up then straight down, then make a small hook.’
    • ‘Kurtz notes, ‘The small hooks at the end of the "t" and the "i" indicate a writer who is tenacious, holds on to beliefs, doctrines, ideals.’’
    1. 5.1Music An added stroke transverse to the stem in the symbol for an eighth note or other note.
      • ‘Any note shorter than a quarter note has one or more hooks to indicate its length.’
  • 6usually in place names A curved promontory or sand spit.

    • ‘The United States owned the entire promontory of Sandy Hook.’


  • 1with object and adverbial Attach or fasten with a hook or hooks.

    ‘the truck had a red lamp hooked to its tailgate’
    ‘she tried to hook up her bra’
    no object ‘a ladder that hooks over the roof ridge’
    • ‘Michelle carefully hooked the clasp and turned Dylan to face her.’
    • ‘He fires a grappling hook that hooks itself onto the balustrade of the rooftop garden.’
    • ‘One interesting solution is to hook your thumb drive to a neck strap to make a necklace, or a key chain, That way, you will never leave home without it.’
    • ‘Metal ladder brackets allow you to hook a ladder over the ridge of a house.’
    • ‘Pirates hooked a metal ladder to the 58m boat and climbed aboard.’
    • ‘Now imagine if the bottom of the ladder slips slightly while the top is hooked over a branch.’
    • ‘She had just finished hooking the last clasp when Loretta turned to her holding up a delicate silver chain and smiling triumphantly.’
    • ‘An older man farther along the edge of the water hooks the suitcase with his umbrella-handle, brings it ashore, leaves it there, and moves on.’
    attach, fix, hitch, fasten, secure, clasp
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Bend or be bent into the shape of a hook so as to fasten around or to an object.
      with object ‘he hooked his thumbs in his belt’
      no object ‘her legs hooked around mine’
      • ‘York and Coll hooked arms to support the woman, Clark recalled.’
      • ‘Isabella hooked her arm through mine and dragged me in.’
      • ‘She hooked her arm in mine and we practically ran to a private secluded area.’
      • ‘The announcement doesn't seem to faze Jonathan Leidich, our guide, who hooks his thumbs in his pack straps and beams.’
      • ‘I hooked my thumbs through my belt loops and observed the class.’
      • ‘In case you were wondering, you hook your arms through the straps of another jumper's parachute.’
      • ‘She blushed and wagged her finger as if admonishing a small terrier, then hooked her arm in mine and steered me towards the pub.’
      • ‘Then I noticed that he had slipped his arm through mine, hooking our elbows together.’
      • ‘‘Nick'll protect me,’ said Sarah quickly, hooking her arm around Nick's.’
      • ‘Gliding up to me in smooth strides, he hooked his arm with mine, attempting a British accent.’
      • ‘He hooked his arm in mine and slowly led me to the dining room.’
      • ‘But he moved with a confident stride, hooking his thumbs through the belt loops of his pants, and keeping his head high.’
      • ‘I shrugged, hooked Danielle's arm through mine, and followed Ryan.’
      • ‘I hooked his arm in mine and laid my head on his shoulder.’
      • ‘I hooked my thumbs around the front belt loops of my jeans.’
      • ‘I hooked my arm through his and willed myself not to laugh for the next five minutes.’
      • ‘In the end he had to swing himself up, hanging upside-down for a moment before he hooked his legs over the branch and drew himself up.’
      • ‘Lithe as a monkey, he climbed across a tree branch, and hooked his legs over the branch, hanging upside down and swinging back and forth.’
      • ‘Dropping down a few branches, I hooked my legs over a branch and hung upside down, the way I did when I was a kid.’
      • ‘He moved back a bit and hooked her legs through his arms.’
      curl, bend, crook, loop, angle, curve
      View synonyms
  • 2with object Catch with a hook.

    ‘he hooked a 24-lb pike’
    • ‘I have been experimenting with small circle hooks for the last couple of seasons and truly believe that they are better at hooking plaice than conventional hooks.’
    • ‘He said that I had been playing the fish for over 10 minutes and to take my time as I had obviously hooked a very big one.’
    • ‘Nine out of ten fish are hooked in the front of their mouth making their release very quick and simple.’
    • ‘Beware though: hooking the prize catch is one thing, securing it in your keepnet another.’
    • ‘You stand every chance of hooking an 8lb plus fish doing this, especially off Inner and Outer Head (marked on an O/S map).’
    • ‘Half an hour before dusk, I hooked a big fish that wouldn't move off the bottom.’
    • ‘During the late afternoon I hooked a fish on my lighter rod, a fish which actually put up a bit of resistance.’
    • ‘Coastal fishermen should not be nearly so amazed when they hook giants.’
    • ‘But once several fish have been hooked you can see the difference in all the carp in that water.’
    • ‘Try hooking a 20 lb carp in 12 inches of water and see the explosion.’
    • ‘That's perhaps not a typical example, because hooking a giant trevally is akin to sticking a fly into the mouth of a Hereford bull.’
    • ‘It is a sad state of affairs when anglers board a charter boat and you know before they hook their first fish that they are going to have a problem with landing fish.’
    • ‘I'd been in the water for around twenty minutes (and I was told that this was a surprisingly slow day) when I hooked my first New Zealand rainbow.’
    • ‘Proud of a nice catch, Myrtle McDonald hooked this fish in the Chapman River.’
    • ‘I saw enough though to realise that future anglers visiting this amazing place are going to hook some monster fish.’
    • ‘I went for another half an hour before hooking my third rainbow making me the only angler to land three fish.’
    • ‘From then on we started hooking single dorados for about an hour, but we realised that there were plenty around, because every time we hooked one we saw lots of others following it.’
    • ‘At one point I was hooking fish and dragging them over the back of an alligator.’
    • ‘And so the old man, alone, ventures out into the Gulf Stream where he hooks the largest marlin ever seen.’
    • ‘I managed to get a few takes, but only hooked one fish which shook the hook before I landed it.’
    • ‘Once the fish is hooked and the line comes tight the pollack will turn and dive for the nearest cover.’
    catch, take, land, net, bag, snare, ensnare, trap, entrap
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1informal Captivate.
      ‘I was hooked by John's radical zeal’
      • ‘Well, this was just the introduction with which he hooked children and got them listening in rapt attention to his lecture.’
      • ‘A small crowd was gathering around them already, the onlookers' attention hooked with the hype of a fight breaking out.’
      • ‘Your first task is to grab attention with a good catchy opening - hook your audience with a bait.’
      • ‘One inconsequential little jamless doughnut sets in chain a ripple of growing anger that hooks the attention of our entire nation.’
      • ‘If it continued to hook her attention she would hold onto it.’
      • ‘The teachers needed a selection of books that would catch the reluctant readers' attention and hook them on reading.’
      • ‘What was it about that cheetah that hooked his attention so?’
      • ‘If they can capture our attention now, they have hooked us for future years and we are far more likely to buy from their site advertisers.’
      • ‘But reading soap previews, those little nuggets meant either to catch you up or hook you in, are very entertaining.’
    2. 2.2archaic, informal Steal.
      purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shoplift
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  • 3with object Strike (the ball) or play (a stroke) so that the ball deviates in the direction of the follow-through, typically inadvertently.

    • ‘If you're slicing or hooking the ball, the divot hole can point the way to a cure.’
    • ‘He shouldn't overdo it, though: The flatter the backswing, the easier it is to hook the ball.’
    • ‘‘As long as he doesn't try to hook the ball, he's going to be all right,’ says Smith.’
    • ‘To draw or hook a golf ball, you must have fast hands.’
    • ‘If he didn't correct that position on the way down, he would hook the ball.’
  • 4no object Punch one's opponent with the elbow bent.

    • ‘From round 3 on, it was all Shields as he would hook, and uppercut his way to victory.’
  • 5with object Push (the ball) backward with the foot from the front line in a scrum.

    • ‘You can only hook the ball back with your feet.’
    • ‘This is done by hooking the ball with the soft swinging motion of one of the feet as the teams 8-man scrum pack pushes forward to give the hooker more room to hook the ball.’
    • ‘At this point, the hookers both attempt to hook the ball back to their teammates.’
  • 6usually as noun hookinginformal no object (of a woman) work as a prostitute.


  • by hook or by crook

    • By any possible means.

      ‘the government intends, by hook or by crook, to hold on to the land’
      • ‘Reality has to be kept at a distance by hook or by crook.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter what we think, say the focus groups, the political elite wants to join the euro and, by hook or by crook, it will force us into membership.’
      • ‘The present set of officials, according to Rover, want to be elected by hook or by crook.’
      • ‘Sometimes, it takes years and years to finally get it done, but by never backing down, by never giving up, they get these films to the screen by hook or by crook.’
      • ‘I have told them I will replace everything by hook or by crook.’
      • ‘A driving-school trainer said that people want a licence by hook or by crook, without mastering the basics of driving a vehicle.’
      • ‘Every Friday, by hook or by crook, I was in front of the TV set.’
      • ‘I made a mental note to try and procure some guest passes by hook or by crook.’
      • ‘Their only concern is to win the match by hook or by crook and be in line to enter the final round.’
      • ‘Parents are compelled to make money by hook or by crook for the ‘safe’ future of their children.’
      by any means, by any means whatsoever, somehow, somehow or other, no matter how, in one way or another, by fair means or foul
      View synonyms
  • get one's hooks into

    • informal Get hold of.

      ‘they were going to move out rather than let Mel get his hooks into them’
      • ‘I feel no compulsion to call some long-term, live-in partner my husband, provided I can still get my hooks into his pension if he suddenly meets a mysterious end while I'm across town in a crowded bar, as several witnesses would attest.’
      • ‘Wait till they get their hooks into your pension funds!’
      • ‘And once he got his hooks into you, he made your life hell by hanging round outside your house until you threw things at him.’
      • ‘His unlikely plot machinations take some swallowing, but his characters truly get their hooks into you.’
      • ‘Horton, meanwhile, is in his own tizzy, terrified that gold-digging dames will get their hooks into Fred.’
      • ‘When she couldn't get her hooks into Alan, she went after your brother.’
      • ‘It is something that you can get your hooks into.’
      • ‘It's hard not to see house number three and think ‘We must buy this now before a crusty investor gets their hooks into it!’’
      • ‘The only regret is not having got my hooks into this fascinating collection sooner, considering it was first published in 1995.’
      • ‘The implication is that a woman's sole goal in life is to ‘get her hooks into’ a man.’
  • get (or give someone) the hook

    • informal Be dismissed (or dismiss someone) from a job.

      • ‘The crowd loved it, but the soundman gave us the hook after only 15 minutes.’
      • ‘It was the day after I got the hook and I wasn't used to it.’
      • ‘He continued his late-season struggles into the playoffs, getting the hook in Game 2 after surrendering three goals in the first 15 minutes.’
      • ‘The PM, all the while insisting the minister hadn't done anything wrong, gave him the hook.’
      • ‘But at issue before he got the hook was his performance, not his work ethic, professionalism or effort.’
      • ‘She was the cause of all my boyfriends giving me the hook because after they saw her, they could never be fully in love with me.’
      • ‘He is aware that scientist and physician founders often get the hook if their management skills don't equal their research feats.’
      • ‘A rotund young woman made her entry one amateur night in Connecticut - and got the hook even before she stepped onstage.’
  • hook, line, and sinker

    • Used to emphasize that someone has been completely deceived or tricked.

      ‘he fell hook, line, and sinker for this year's April Fool joke’
      • ‘I expected them to laugh it off as yet another hoax, but was surprised when the former hoaxers bought into my doctored photo hook, line, and sinker.’
      • ‘Someone at the newspaper swallowed the fake memo hook, line, and sinker.’
      • ‘Of course, most who read this tripe have zero knowledge of firearms and swallow it hook, line, and sinker which is the goal.’
      • ‘But that doesn't mean some 18-year-old kid isn't going to take it hook, line, and sinker and try to top it.’
      • ‘Of course, the media swallowed it - as they always do - hook, line, and sinker.’
      • ‘Mr Peters has fallen for that, hook, line, and sinker.’
      • ‘If that is true, then they took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.’
      • ‘He had them falling for it; hook, line, and sinker.’
      • ‘What is a good deal more disturbing is that U.S. and international media outlets consistently swallowed the opposition's unlikely claims of certain victory hook, line, and sinker.’
      • ‘I think that she fell prey to someone much more powerful and more cunning than she was and believed everything he said hook, line, and sinker, and she's a victim of crime, the way I see it.’
      completely, totally, utterly, entirely, absolutely, thoroughly, wholly, through and through, one hundred per cent, lock, stock, and barrel
      View synonyms
  • off the hook

    • 1No longer in difficulty or trouble.

      ‘I lied to get him off the hook’
      • ‘I don't think he's off the hook at all, because either he was misled or he deliberately lied.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, such action, welcome though it will be, is unlikely to get the Chancellor off the hook that easily.’
      • ‘Only when the mom told the judge that her mother had stayed with them in their hotel room was she off the hook.’
      • ‘Even America, which is the leader of the democratic world, does not let corrupt directors get off the hook.’
      • ‘I didn't have a chance to submit my questions to you in advance so I'm going to let you off the hook.’
      • ‘She let him off the hook since that also meant letting herself off the hook.’
      • ‘Some criticise this as letting property owners off the hook.’
      • ‘They often use the paperwork loophole to get themselves off the hook.’
      • ‘You didn't think I was letting her off the hook that easily, did you?’
      • ‘Alexander has no truck with the view that pushing the voluntary sector into the forefront of social change is letting the state off the hook.’
      out of trouble, free, in the clear, under no obligation
      View synonyms
    • 2(of a telephone receiver) not on its rest, and so preventing incoming calls.

      • ‘She prefers to leave the phone off the hook because it was the telephone that brought the fateful news.’
      • ‘When they asked British Telecom to check the line, it is claimed they were told the line was not faulty but the phone had been left off the hook.’
      • ‘When the maid found her body, she noticed the telephone was off the hook.’
      • ‘The receiver was slightly off the hook, tilted, but on enough that it was connected.’
      • ‘She tosses her shoes at the telephone when it rings, hoping to knock the receiver off the hook.’
      • ‘The phone was still off the hook - his sister had touched nothing, as though this were his last fragile sandcastle.’
      • ‘Harris also took the telephone off the hook so the complainant was unable to call her mother.’
      • ‘He took the telephone off the hook, placed cushions on the floor, locked the door, drew the blinds and asked her to lie down.’
      • ‘Whilst he was clearing up the mess, he noticed the phone was off the hook.’
  • on the hook for

    • informal (in a financial context) responsible for.

      ‘he's on the hook for about $9.5 million’
      • ‘I am the one who, by doing this, is on the hook for 300K if it fails.’
      • ‘The answer will determine whether his insurers are on the hook for $3.5 billion for one event, or $7 billion for two.’
      • ‘You want to know how much money you're going to be on the hook for, right?’
      • ‘A setback could damage his trade potential, and the club would be on the hook for $3 million.’
      • ‘But it goes even further, because the financial institutions are only on the hook for reported thefts.’
      • ‘He has $7.5 billion in loan commitments to production companies, but his bank is on the hook for only $1.3 billion of it.’
      • ‘And I know a lot of people worry that they'll be on the hook for more.’
      • ‘In the contemporary portion of the story, Alex is on the hook for $100,000 owed to loan sharks.’
      • ‘And the school board is on the hook for more than $740,000 while the state investigates ‘serious allegations’ about a misallocation of money.’
      • ‘Similarly, as credit cards took hold, consumers were legally on the hook for just the first $50 in unauthorized transactions.’
  • on one's own hook

    • dated, informal On one's own account; by oneself.

      • ‘We might encapsulate these promises as ‘functionality’ and ‘freedom’ - the system will work for you if you work for it, and if you can get ahead on your own hook, God bless you.’
      • ‘Count William of Nevers had in the meantime set out into Asia Minor on his own hook.’
      • ‘Older pickpockets, incapacitated for work on their own hook, instructed the younger charges, reducing the subject to a science.’
      • ‘It is also unclear as to whether that refusal is by him on his own hook or at the instruction of the Frasers.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • hook up

    • 1Link or be linked to electronic equipment.

      ‘he was hooked up to an electrocardiograph’
      • ‘There is also a links page, which hooks you up to a number of rare book sites and other author sites.’
      • ‘The animals are hooked up to milking machines with timers on them.’
      • ‘The cows would be hooked up to the milking machine and I would be straddled atop.’
      • ‘Every night he was hooked up to a machine at his family home in Offerton, Stockport, for 12 hours to clean his blood.’
      • ‘They hooked him up to machines and pumped him full of drugs.’
      • ‘It can connect to the Net via a standard landline, or the machine can be hooked up to a mobile phone to connect wirelessly.’
      • ‘Her vital organs are working fine, which means she is not hooked up to a machine.’
      • ‘Little did the 17-year-old know that two days later, he would be hooked up to machines, not even able to cry for help.’
      • ‘One promising technique for unlocking the thoughts of paralyzed patients is to hook them up to electroencephalograms.’
      • ‘I checked the machines he was hooked up to, making sure his oxygen saturation levels and heart and breathing rates were what the nurses expected them to be.’
      • ‘The only time the twins weren't hooked up to life-saving equipment was between the delivery room and intensive care.’
      • ‘On Christmas Eve, 10 years ago, she was hooked up to various machines in hospital after drinking to excess.’
      • ‘What a coupler does is allow you to keep pins in all your attachments and hook an attachment up to the hydraulics.’
      • ‘She warned us in a well rehearsed sinister tone that we should not be alarmed by the medical equipment Fay had been hooked up to.’
      • ‘Brazelton hooked newborn babies up to electroencephalographs and then exposed them to a flickering light source similar to a television but with no images.’
      • ‘The nurse explained to me that they hook you up to a machine that takes the blood, centrifuges it, removes the platelets and most of the plasma and then gives you back everything else.’
      • ‘This is the process where your computer or server tries to make a network connection via internet protocol, a common way of hooking this equipment up.’
      • ‘Once you hook it up to another machine, it will either overwrite the music or (if you choose) do nothing.’
      • ‘For four hours a day, three days a week, he is hooked up to a dialysis machine, which performs the task of his own kidneys and keeps him alive.’
      • ‘Do not hook your machine up to the Internet, power it up and forget about it.’
      attach, join, fasten, fix, affix, couple, link, bridge, secure, make fast, tie, tie up, bind, fetter, strap, rope, tether, truss, lash, hitch, moor, anchor, yoke, chain
      View synonyms
    • 2Engage in or form a casual sexual relationship.

      ‘hooking up with total strangers can be very dangerous’
      • ‘Whether in Venice or Hamburg, they have always hooked up - turning a mere journey into an " erotic pursuit ".’
      • ‘Im not gonna get hooked up just cause you say I should’
      • ‘I didn't feel guilty, or satisfied that I'd finally hooked up with my dream girl.’
      • ‘Self-proclaimed thirty-two year old "decent guy" Jeff hooks up with a fourteen year-old girl he's been chatting with online for weeks.’
      • ‘In this predominantly heterosexual sample, perhaps more males are coitally hooking up with a smaller group of females who more frequently coitally hookup.’
      • ‘She was not about to help her creepy ex-boyfriend hook up with a girl two years too young for him.’
      • ‘A Detroit school-bus driver made a couple of unscheduled stops to hook up with a prostitute - who turned out to be an undercover cop.’
      • ‘Brendan and I hooked up a couple of times.’
      • ‘I entertained fantasies of one day hooking up with a man who would cover my bed with roses.’
      • ‘She elaborates on how they first hooked up.’
    • 3(of two people) meet or form a relationship.

      ‘she decides to hook up with Jake, a kid from the nearby boys' school’


Old English hōc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoek ‘corner, angle, projecting piece of land’, also to German Haken ‘hook’.