off the hook(redirected from let off the hook)
off the hook
1. Pardoned, vindicated, released; allowed to avoid blame, responsibility, obligation, or difficulty. At first, Sam was suspected of stealing money from the safe, but he was let off the hook after security camera footage showed it was someone else. A: "I thought you had that big work event tonight." B: "No, it got canceled, so I'm off the hook."
2. Of a telephone receiver, not positioned on the cradle (and thus giving a busy signal to the operator). That's why you couldn't get through to grandma's house before—her phone was off the hook.
3. slang Very enjoyable or appealing. That band's new song is really off the hook!
*off the hook
Fig. freed from an obligation. (Alludes to a fish freeing itself from a fishhook. *Typically: be ~; get ~; get someone ~; let someone ~.) Thanks for getting me off the hook. I didn't want to attend that meeting. I couldn't get myself off the hook no matter what I tried.
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]
off the hook1 no longer in trouble or difficulty. informal 2 (of a telephone receiver) not on its rest, and so not receiving incoming calls.
Hook in sense 1 is a long-standing (mid 15th-century) figurative use of the word to mean ‘something by which a person is caught and trapped’, as a fish hook catches a fish. Sense 2 is a fossilized expression from the late 19th century, the early years of telephony, when the receiver literally hung on a hook.
off the ˈhookif you leave or take the telephone off the hook, you take the receiver (= the part that you pick up) off the place where it usually rests, so that nobody can call you: So many people were calling me that in the end I got tired of it and left the phone off the hook.
off the hook
1. mod. no longer in jeopardy; no longer obligated. I’ll let you off the hook this time, but never again.
2. mod. crazy. (Referring to the telephone—disconnected.) She’s so ditzy—really off the hook.
off the hookInformal
Freed, as from blame or a vexatious obligation: let me off the hook with a mild reprimand.