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

    • ‘The phone was still off the hook - his sister had touched nothing, as though this were his last fragile sandcastle.’
    • ‘Whilst he was clearing up the mess, he noticed the phone was 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.’
    • ‘He took the telephone off the hook, placed cushions on the floor, locked the door, drew the blinds and asked her to lie down.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She tosses her shoes at the telephone when it rings, hoping to knock the receiver off the hook.’
    • ‘Harris also took the telephone off the hook so the complainant was unable to call her mother.’