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From Middle English noke, nok (nook, corner, angle), of uncertain origin. Cognate with Scots neuk, nuk (corner, angle of a square, angular object). Perhaps from Old English hnoc, hnocc (hook, angle), from Proto-Germanic *hnukkaz, *hnukkô (a bend), from Proto-Indo-European *knewg- (to turn, press), from Proto-Indo-European *ken- (to pinch, press, bend). If so, then also related to Scots nok (small hook), Norwegian dialectal nok, nokke (hook, angle, bent object), Danish nokke (hook), Swedish nock (ridge), Faroese nokki (crook), Icelandic hnokki (hook), Dutch nok (ridge), Low German Nocke (tip), Old Norse hnúka (to bend, crouch), Old English ġehnycned (drawn, pinched, wrinkled), Finnish nurkka ((inside) corner).


  • enPR: no͝ok, IPA(key): /nʊk/
  • (obsolete) enPR: no͞ok, IPA(key): /nuːk/[1]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊk


nook (plural nooks)

  1. A small corner formed by two walls; an alcove.
    There was a small broom for sweeping ash kept in the nook between the fireplace bricks and the wall.
  2. A hidden or secluded spot; a secluded retreat.
    The back of the used book shop was one of her favorite nooks; she could read for hours and no one would bother her or pester her to buy.
  3. A recess, cove or hollow.
    • 1610-11, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act I Scene 2
      Safely in harbour
      Is the king's ship, in the deep nook where once
      Thou called'st me up at midnight to fetch dew
      From the still vex'd Bermoothes, there she's hid; [...]
  4. (historical) An English unit of land area, originally ¼ of a yardland but later 12½ or 20 acres.
    • a. 1634, W. Noye, The Complete Lawyer, 57:
      You must note, that two Fardells of Land make a Nooke of Land, and two Nookes make halfe a Yard of Land.
    • 1903, English Dialectical Dictionary, volume IV, page 295:
      Nook, an old legal term for 12½ acres of land; still in use at Alston.
    • 1968 November 9, The Economist, page 2:
      They poured their wine by the aume or the fust, and cut their cloth by the goad—not to be confused with the gawd, which was a measure of steel. Their nook was not cosy; it covered 20 acres.




  • (unit of area): See fardel (½ nook), see acre (various fractions & for further subdivisions)

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  1. ^ John Walker (1824) A critical pronouncing dictionary[1], page 415