crook

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by hook or (by) crook

by any means, legal or illegal. I'll get the job done by hook or by crook. I must have that house. I intend to get it by hook or crook.
See also: crook, hook

by hook or by crook

using any method possible Templeton was recruited to obtain the formula by hook or by crook.
See also: crook, hook

by hook or by crook

if you intend to do something by hook or by crook, you are determined not to let anything stop you doing it and are ready to use any methods I decided that I was going to get that job by hook or by crook.
See also: crook, hook

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.
See also: crook, hook

crook one's elbow

Also, bend one's elbow. Drink liquor, especially a great deal. For example, Bill is known to crook his elbow now and then, or Uncle Joe rather overdoes it with bending his elbow. Both slangy expressions allude to the motion of lifting a drink to one's lips, which involves bending the elbow. The first dates from about 1820, and the second from about 1900.
See also: crook, elbow

by hook or by crook

By whatever means possible, fair or unfair.
See also: crook, hook

by hook or by crook

By any means necessary to accomplish the purpose; one way or another. Several explanations for this phrase have come down over the years. One is that it refers to two Irish towns, Hook Head and Crook, through which Oliver Cromwell tried to capture the nearby city of Waterford. Another is a medieval custom of allowing villagers to collect for firewood any loose branches that they could pull down with a long-handled curved implement. A third explanation is the most plausible: shepherds rounded up their flocks by means of a crook, a long staff with a curved end. A shepherd would chase after a reluctant ram, ewe, or lamb and hook it with his staff by any means . . . by hook or by crook.
See also: crook, hook