off the hook


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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!
See also: hook, off

*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.
See also: hook, off

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]
See also: hook, off

off the hook

1 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.
See also: hook, off

off the ˈhook

if 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.
See also: hook, off

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.
See also: hook, off

off the hook

Informal
Freed, as from blame or a vexatious obligation: let me off the hook with a mild reprimand.
See also: hook, off
References in periodicals archive ?
American Registry, LLC is an independent company that serves businesses and professionals such as Off the Hook Raw Bar & Grill who have been recognized for excellence.
Bengie Molina's three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth got Lackey off the hook, one of several encouraging signs the Angels could rally around.
California health officials announced a new public health goal for perchlorate Thursday that critics charge would let polluters off the hook in the Simi Valley, the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita.
The appeals court decision essentially cripples law enforcement by letting those responsible for the planning of terrorist activities off the hook if law enforcement is successful in stopping the activities before they occur.
Once again, apartment owners and renters have been let off the hook in their obligation to help reduce the inflow to city landfills.
We should not let them off the hook without unnecessarily denying benefits to deserving workers.
As flames tore through 100,000 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains last fall, the phone at TreePeople's Studio City office was ringing off the hook.
This recent recording resulted in an off the hook track "Dirty & Stinkin" and picks up right where "Got Your Money" left off.
which operated the site until 1987 and has recently begun studying the best ways to clean up the pollution, off the hook.
The Off The Hook Comedy Tour's success once again demonstrates Zilo's ability to create dynamic original programming that gets college students' attention and leaves them cheering and asking for more," said Zilo CEO David Isaacs.
WHO: "ZILO's Off the Hook Comedy Tour," sponsored by General Motors and Motorola, in association with Wrigley's Doublemint, is bringing the nation's premier African American college comedy tour to PRAIRIE VIEW A & M UNIVERSITY