General English



  • Any bent or curved device for holding, pulling, catching, or attaching.
  • A terminal bend in a reinforcing bar.
  • Slang term for a crane.


  • noun a batting stroke in which a short-pitched ball is swept round to the leg-side with a horizontal bat. The shot can be played to any rising short ball pitching on or not too far outside the stumps, and is executed by moving the back foot far enough across to get right behind the line of the ball; the bat, held horizontally, is then swung across the ball’s line of flight, usually sending it into the area between square and fine leg.
    Citation ‘The hook has never been an easy shot … This is not because it is difficult to execute but because it is difficult to control’ (Purandare 2005)
  • verb to hit the ball when making a hook
    Citation ‘Hooking a fast bowler is fraught with no little danger, for often the ball comes shoulder high to the batsman’ (Warner 1934)
    Citation ‘Twenty minutes before lunch on the third day of the fifth Test against England, he hooked Chris Lewis for the 44th of his 45 fours to pass Sir Garfield Sobers’s record Test score of 365 not out’ (Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Daily Telegraph 19th April 1994)

Media Studies

  • noun a device to attract the attention of a viewer and keep them interested
  • noun a pleasing and easily remembered refrain in a pop song
  • noun in writing or printing, a short curve of a letter that extends above or below the line


  • noun a surgical instrument with a bent end used for holding structures apart in operations


  • noun
    (written as Hook)
    a NATO name for the Soviet-designed Mi-6 transport helicopter


  • verb to steal. This euphemism, which is still in use in London working-class speech, is at least 200 years old. The ‘h’ is almost invariably dropped.
  • verb to ‘pick up’ (a romantic partner). Unsurprisingly, the word has been used in this sense before, e.g. in 19th century England, where it referred to obtaining a potential marriage partner.
  • verb to have sex. A term used by young street-gang members in London since around 2000.


  • noun a short blow to an opponent delivered with a swing and a bent arm
  • noun a shot with the bat held parallel to the ground that sends the ball towards the leg side
  • noun the act of using an ice hockey stick to prevent another player from moving freely
  • verb to deliver a sharp curving blow to an opponent, using a curved or bent arm
  • verb to kick the ball backwards out of a scrum to the scrum half

Origin & History of “hook”

Hook and its Germanic relatives, German haken, Dutch haak, Swedish hake, and Danish hage, go back to a prehistoric *keg- or *keng- ‘bent object’, from which English also gets hank (14th c.) (via Old Norse *hanku). Old Norse haki ‘hook’ was the source of a now obsolete English hake ‘hook’, which may have been the inspiration for the fish-name hake (15th c.) (the hake having a hook-shaped lower jaw). Hookah ‘water-pipe’ (18th c.), incidentally, has no etymological connection with hook; it comes via Urdu from Arabic huqqah ‘small box’.