Definition of off the hook in US English:

off the hook


  • 1informal No longer in difficulty or trouble.

    ‘I lied to get him off the hook’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I didn't have a chance to submit my questions to you in advance so I'm going to let you off the hook.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, such action, welcome though it will be, is unlikely to get the Chancellor off the hook that easily.’
    • ‘Even America, which is the leader of the democratic world, does not let corrupt directors get off the hook.’
    • ‘Only when the mom told the judge that her mother had stayed with them in their hotel room was she off the hook.’
    • ‘She let him off the hook since that also meant letting herself off the hook.’
    • ‘You didn't think I was letting her off the hook that easily, did you?’
    • ‘I don't think he's off the hook at all, because either he was misled or he deliberately lied.’
    • ‘Some criticise this as letting property owners off the hook.’
    • ‘They often use the paperwork loophole to get themselves 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.

    • ‘When the maid found her body, she noticed the telephone was off the hook.’
    • ‘Whilst he was clearing up the mess, he noticed the phone was off the hook.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The receiver was slightly off the hook, tilted, but on enough that it was connected.’
    • ‘The phone was still off the hook - his sister had touched nothing, as though this were his last fragile sandcastle.’
    • ‘She tosses her shoes at the telephone when it rings, hoping to knock the receiver off the hook.’
    • ‘She prefers to leave the phone off the hook because it was the telephone that brought the fateful news.’