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See also: Crook



  • IPA(key): /kɹʊk/
  • (obsolete) IPA(key): /kɹuːk/[1]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊk

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English croke, crok, from Old English *crōc (hook, bend, crook), from Proto-West Germanic *krōk, from Proto-Germanic *krōkaz (bend, hook), from Proto-Indo-European *greg- (tracery, basket, bend).

Cognate with Dutch kreuk (a bend, fold, wrinkle), Middle Low German kroke, krake (fold, wrinkle), Danish krog (crook, hook), Swedish krok (crook, hook), Icelandic krókur (hook).


crook (plural crooks)

  1. A bend; turn; curve; curvature; a flexure.
    She held the baby in the crook of her arm.
    • 1842, William Edward Hoskins, De Valencourt:
      he walks bye lanes, and crooks
  2. A bending of the knee; a genuflection.
  3. A bent or curved part; a curving piece or portion (of anything).
    the crook of a cane
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “His Own People”, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC, page 6:
      It was flood-tide along Fifth Avenue; motor, brougham, and victoria swept by on the glittering current; pretty women glanced out from limousine and tonneau; young men of his own type, silk-hatted, frock-coated, the crooks of their walking sticks tucked up under their left arms, passed on the Park side.
  4. (obsolete) A lock or curl of hair.
  5. (obsolete) A support beam consisting of a post with a cross-beam resting upon it; a bracket or truss consisting of a vertical piece, a horizontal piece, and a strut.
  6. A specialized staff with a semi-circular bend (a "hook") at one end used by shepherds to control their herds.
    • 1970, The New English Bible with the Apocrypha, Oxford Study Edition, published 1976, Oxford University Press, Psalms 23-4, p.583:
      Even though I walk through a / valley dark as death / I fear no evil, for thou art with me, / thy staff and thy crook are my / comfort.
  7. A bishop's standard staff of office.
  8. An artifice; a trick; a contrivance.
    • c. 1547, Thomas Cranmer, Against Transubstantiation:
      for all your brags, hooks, and crooks
  9. A person who steals, lies, cheats or does other dishonest or illegal things; a criminal.
  10. A pothook.
  11. (music) A small tube, usually curved, applied to a trumpet, horn, etc., to change its pitch or key.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English crooken, croken, crokien, from Old English *crōcian, from Proto-West Germanic *krōkōn (to bend, wrinkle), from the noun (see above). Cognate with Dutch kreuken (to crease, rumple), German Low German kröken (to bend, offend, suppress).


crook (third-person singular simple present crooks, present participle crooking, simple past and past participle crooked)

  1. (transitive) To bend, or form into a hook.
    He crooked his finger toward me.
    • c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp, / And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee / Where thrift may follow fawning.
    • 1784, William Blake, Songs from, “An Island in the Moon”, in W. H. Stevenson, editor, Blake: The Complete Poems, 3rd edition, Routledge, published 2007, page 50:
      For if a damsel's blind or lame, / Or nature's hand has crooked her frame, / Or if she's deaf or is wall-eyed; / Yet if her heart is well inclined, / Some tender lover she shall find / That panteth for a bride.
    • 1917, Leo Tolstoy, translated by Constance Garnett, Anna Karenina, Part 4, Chapter 5:
      [] In the following cases: physical defect in the married parties, desertion without communication for five years,” he said, crooking a short finger covered with hair [] .
  2. (intransitive) To become bent or hooked.
  3. To turn from the path of rectitude; to pervert; to misapply; to twist.
    • 1544 (date written; published 1571), Roger Ascham, Toxophilus, the Schole, or Partitions, of Shooting. [], London: [] Thomas Marshe, →OCLC; republished in The English Works of Roger Ascham, [], London: [] R[obert] and J[ames] Dodsley, [], and J[ohn] Newbery, [], 1761, →OCLC, book 1, page 88:
      For the foundation of youthe well ſet (as Plato doth ſaye) the whole bodye of the common wealthe ſhall flouriſhe thereafter. If the younge tree growe croked, when it is oulde, a man ſhall rather breake it than ſtreight it. And I thincke there is no one thinge that crokes youthe more then ſuch unlawful games.
    • 1597, Francis Bacon, “Of Wisdom For a Man's Self,”, in The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral[1]:
      The referring of all to a man's self, is more tolerable in a sovereign prince; because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the public fortune. But it is a desperate evil, in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic. For whatsoever affairs pass such a man's hands, he crooketh them to his own ends; which must needs be often eccentric to the ends of his master, or state.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From crooked (dishonestly come by). [2]


crook (comparative crooker, superlative crookest)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Bad, unsatisfactory, not up to standard.
    That work you did on my car is crook, mate.
    Not turning up for training was pretty crook.
    • 1981, Herman Charles Bosman, The Collected Works of Herman Charles Bosman, page 101:
      The soup was crook. It was onkus. A yellow-bellied platypus couldn′t drink it []
    • 2004, Robert Barnard, A Cry from the Dark[2], page 21:
      Things are crook at home at the moment.
      “They′re always crook at my home.”
  2. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Ill, sick.
    I′m feeling a bit crook.
  3. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Annoyed, angry; upset.
    be crook at/about; go crook at
    • 2006, Jimmy Butt, Felicity Dargan, I've Been Bloody Lucky: The Story of an Orphan Named Jimmy Butt, page 17:
      Ann explained to the teacher what had happened and the nuns went crook at me too.
    • 2007, Jo Wainer, Bess: Lost: Illegal Abortion Stories, page 159:
      I went home on the tram, then Mum went crook at me because I was late getting home—I had tickets for Mum and her friend to go to the Regent that night and she was annoyed because I was late.
    • 2007, Ruby Langford Ginibi, Don′t Take Your Love to Town[3], page 100:
      I went crook at them for not telling me and as soon as she was well enough I took her home to the camping area and she soon picked up.
    • 2009, Carolyn Landon, Cups With No Handles[4], page 234:
      Mum went crook at me for wasting money, but when Don got a job and spent all his money on a racing bike, she didn′t say a thing to him.
Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Crook” in John Walker, A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary [] , London: Sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinſon, Paternoſter Row; and T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1791, →OCLC, page 174, column 3.
  2. ^ Australian National Dictionary Centre Home » Australian words » Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms » C

See also[edit]

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of croken