off the hook

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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