by hook or crook

Idioms & Phrases

by hook or crook

By any means possible, in one way or another. For example, The car broke down, but I'll get there by hook or crook. This term has a disputed origin. A widely held theory is that it comes from the custom of allowing commoners to take as much wood from royal forests as they could reach with a shepherd's crook and cut down with a billhook. [1300s] Also see the synonym by any means.

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