Off the hook

hook

1 [hook]
noun
1.
a curved or angular piece of metal or other hard substance for catching, pulling, holding, or suspending something.
2.
a fishhook.
3.
anything that catches; snare; trap.
4.
something that attracts attention or serves as an enticement: The product is good but we need a sales hook to get people to buy it.
5.
something having a sharp curve, bend, or angle at one end, as a mark or symbol.
6.
a sharp curve or angle in the length or course of anything.
7.
a curved arm of land jutting into the water; a curved peninsula: Sandy Hook.
8.
a recurved and pointed organ or appendage of an animal or plant.
9.
a small curved catch inserted into a loop to form a clothes fastener.
10.
Sports.
a.
the path described by a ball, as in baseball, bowling, or golf, that curves in a direction opposite to the throwing hand or to the side of the ball from which it was struck.
b.
a ball describing such a path.
11.
Boxing. a short, circular punch delivered with the elbow bent.
12.
Music.
a.
Also called pennant. a stroke or line attached to the stem of eighth notes, sixteenth notes, etc.
b.
an appealing melodic phrase, orchestral ornament, refrain, etc., often important to a popular song's commercial success.
13.
Metalworking. an accidental short bend formed in a piece of bar stock during rolling.
14.
hooks, Slang. hands or fingers: Get your hooks off that cake!
15.
Underworld Slang. a pickpocket.
16.
Also called deck hook. Nautical. a triangular plate or knee that binds together the stringers and plating at each end of a vessel.
verb (used with object)
17.
to seize, fasten, suspend from, pierce, or catch hold of and draw with or as if with a hook.
18.
to catch (fish) with a fishhook.
19.
Slang. to steal or seize by stealth.
20.
Informal. to catch or trick by artifice; snare.
21.
(of a bull or other horned animal) to catch on the horns or attack with the horns.
22.
to catch hold of and draw (loops of yarn) through cloth with or as if with a hook.
23.
to make (a rug, garment, etc.) in this fashion.
24.
Sports. to hit or throw (a ball) so that a hook results.
25.
Boxing. to deliver a hook with: The champion hooked a right to his opponent's jaw.
26.
Rugby. to push (a ball) backward with the foot in scrummage from the front line.
27.
to make hook-shaped; crook.
verb (used without object)
28.
to become attached or fastened by or as if by a hook.
29.
to curve or bend like a hook.
30.
Sports.
a.
(of a player) to hook the ball.
b.
(of a ball) to describe a hook in course.
31.
Slang. to depart hastily: We'd better hook for home.
Verb phrases
32.
hook up,
a.
to fasten with a hook or hooks.
b.
to assemble or connect, as the components of a machine: to hook up a stereo system.
c.
to connect to a central source, as of power or water: The house hasn't been hooked up to the city's water system yet.
d.
Informal. to join, meet, or become associated with: He never had a decent job until he hooked up with this company.
e.
Informal. to have casual sex or a romantic date without a long-term commitment: He doesn't know her very well, but he hooked up with her a couple of times.
Idioms
33.
by hook or by crook, by any means, whether just or unjust, legal or illegal. Also, by hook or crook.
34.
get/give the hook, Informal. to receive or subject to a dismissal: The rumor is that he got the hook.
35.
hook it, Slang. to run away; depart; flee: He hooked it when he saw the truant officer.
36.
hook, line, and sinker, Informal. entirely; completely: He fell for the story—hook, line, and sinker.
37.
off the hook,
a.
out of trouble; released from some difficulty: This time there was no one around to get him off the hook.
b.
free of obligation: Her brother paid all her bills and got her off the hook.
c.
Slang. extremely or shockingly excellent: Wow, that song is off the hook!
38.
on one's own hook, Informal. on one's own initiative or responsibility; independently.
39.
on the hook, Slang.
a.
obliged; committed; involved: He's already on the hook for $10,000.
b.
subjected to a delaying tactic; waiting: We've had him on the hook for two weeks now.

Origin:
before 900; 1830–40, Americanism for def 36; Middle English hoke (noun and v.), Old English hōc (noun); cognate with Dutch hoek hook, angle, corner; akin to German Haken, Old Norse haki

hookless, adjective
hooklike, adjective

penance, pennants.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
hook (hʊk)
 
n
1.  a piece of material, usually metal, curved or bent and used to suspend, catch, hold, or pull something
2.  short for fish-hook
3.  a trap or snare
4.  chiefly (US) something that attracts or is intended to be an attraction
5.  something resembling a hook in design or use
6.  a.  a sharp bend or angle in a geological formation, esp a river
 b.  a sharply curved spit of land
7.  boxing a short swinging blow delivered from the side with the elbow bent
8.  cricket a shot in which the ball is hit square on the leg side with the bat held horizontally
9.  golf a shot that causes the ball to swerve sharply from right to left
10.  surfing the top of a breaking wave
11.  ice hockey Also called: hookcheck the act of hooking an opposing player
12.  music a stroke added to the stem of a written or printed note to indicate time values shorter than a crotchet
13.  a catchy musical phrase in a pop song
14.  another name for a sickle
15.  a nautical word for anchor
16.  by hook or crook, by hook or by crook by any means
17.  slang (US), (Canadian) get the hook to be dismissed from employment
18.  informal hook, line, and sinker completely: he fell for it hook, line, and sinker
19.  off the hook
 a.  slang out of danger; free from obligation or guilt
 b.  (of a telephone receiver) not on the support, so that incoming calls cannot be received
20.  slang chiefly (US) on one's own hook on one's own initiative
21.  slang on the hook
 a.  waiting
 b.  in a dangerous or difficult situation
22.  slang (Brit) sling one's hook to leave
 
vb (often foll by down)
23.  (often foll by up) to fasten or be fastened with or as if with a hook or hooks
24.  (tr) to catch (something, such as a fish) on a hook
25.  to curve like or into the shape of a hook
26.  (tr) (of bulls, elks, etc) to catch or gore with the horns
27.  (tr) to make (a rug) by hooking yarn through a stiff fabric backing with a special instrument
28.  to cut (grass or herbage) with a sickle: to hook down weeds
29.  boxing to hit (an opponent) with a hook
30.  ice hockey to impede (an opposing player) by catching hold of him with the stick
31.  golf to play (a ball) with a hook
32.  rugby to obtain and pass (the ball) backwards from a scrum to a member of one's team, using the feet
33.  cricket to play (a ball) with a hook
34.  informal (tr) to trick
35.  (tr) a slang word for steal
36.  slang hook it to run or go quickly away
 
[Old English hōc; related to Middle Dutch hōk, Old Norse haki]
 
'hookless
 
adj
 
'hooklike
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

hook
O.E. hoc, perhaps related to O.E. haca "bolt," from P.Gmc. *khokaz/*khakan- (cf. Du. haak, Ger. Haken "hook"), from PIE *keg- "bent object" (cf. Rus. kogot "claw"). For spelling, see hood. Boxing sense of "short, swinging blow with the elbow bent" is from 1898. Fig. sense was in M.E. (see
hooker); hooked "addicted" is from 1925, originally in ref. to narcotics. By hook or by crook (c.1380) probably alludes to tools of professional thieves. Hook, line, and sinker "completely" is 1838, a metaphor from angling.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Hook definition


(1.) Heb. hah, a "ring" inserted in the nostrils of animals to which a cord was fastened for the purpose of restraining them (2 Kings 19:28; Isa. 37:28, 29; Ezek. 29:4; 38:4). "The Orientals make use of this contrivance for curbing their work-beasts...When a beast becomes unruly they have only to draw the cord on one side, which, by stopping his breath, punishes him so effectually that after a few repetitions he fails not to become quite tractable whenever he begins to feel it" (Michaelis). So God's agents are never beyond his control. (2.) Hakkah, a fish "hook" (Job 41:2, Heb. Text, 40:25; Isa. 19:8; Hab. 1:15). (3.) Vav, a "peg" on which the curtains of the tabernacle were hung (Ex. 26:32). (4.) Tsinnah, a fish-hooks (Amos 4:2). (5.) Mazleg, flesh-hooks (1 Sam. 2:13, 14), a kind of fork with three teeth for turning the sacrifices on the fire, etc. (6.) Mazmeroth, pruning-hooks (Isa. 2:4; Joel 3:10). (7.) 'Agmon (Job 41:2, Heb. Text 40:26), incorrectly rendered in the Authorized Version. Properly a rush-rope for binding animals, as in Revised Version margin.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

off the hook

Also, get or let off the hook. Released (or be released) from blame or annoying obligation, as in He was out of town during the robbery so he was off the book, or I don't know how the muggers got off the hook, or Once they found the real culprit, they let Mary off the hook. This idiom alludes to the fish that manages to free itself from the angler's hook and get away. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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