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by hook or (by) crook

In any way possible. A: "But we're not allowed to submit more than one entry per person." B: "Oh, forget that—we are winning this contest by hook or by crook!" We need to court that big investor by hook or by crook, so shameless flattery is a fine place to start!
See also: crook, hook

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 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

If you say you will do something by hook or by crook, you mean that you will find a way to do it, even if it is difficult or involves dishonest methods. He would have to see her again by hook or by crook. He is determined to hang on to power by hook or by crook. Note: The hook in this expression is a billhook, which is a cutting tool with a hooked blade. A shepherd's crook is a long stick with a curve at the top. This expression may refer to a medieval law which allowed ordinary people to collect firewood from forests belonging to the King or a lord, so long as they took only dead wood which they could reach with crooks and billhooks.
See also: crook, hook

be crook on

be annoyed by. Australian & New Zealand informal
See also: crook, on

go crook

1 lose your temper; become angry. 2 become ill. Australian & New Zealand informal
Crook in late 19th-century Australian slang meant ‘bad’ or ‘unpleasant’.
1 1950 Coast to Coast 1949–50 What'd you do if you were expelled? Y'r old man'd go crook, I bet.
See also: crook

by hook or by crook

by one means or another; by fair means or foul.
The hook referred to here is probably a billhook or heavy curved pruning knife; one of the earliest recorded instances of this phrase is in Gower's Confessio Amantis ( 1390 ), which uses the rare word hepe (meaning ‘a pruning knife’) in place of hook . Various etymologies for the expression have been put forward, none of them entirely convincing. In 1822 William Cobbett wrote of people who lived near woodland being allowed, under the ancient forest law of England, to gather dead branches for fuel, which they may have brought down from the trees literally by hook or by crook .
1998 Adèle Geras Silent Snow, Secret Snow Till then, she would hang on. By hook or by crook. Come what may.
See also: crook, hook

by ˌhook or by ˈcrook

(of something difficult) by any method, whether it is honest or not: Don’t worry — we’ll have the money ready by 4 o’clock, by hook or by crook.This may come from the practice in the past of allowing workers to use the tools of their trade (billhooks for farm workers, crooks for shepherds) to pull down loose wood from their employer’s trees to use as firewood.
See also: crook, hook

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Police followed crook George Duncan and watched as Browne passed him the drugs through a car window.
SPARKS fly between professional crook George Clooney and US Marshal Jennifer Lopez.
The biggest manhunt ever was launched but there was a dreadful miscarriage of justice and small-time crook George Kelly was hung.
CALLOUS crook George Farrow wrecked Christmas for a Tyneside family when he stole their gifts and put them under his own tree.
THIS is supersized crook George Jolicur, who fed his insatiable appetite by ripping off burger bars.
The key witness at Hall's trial, petty crook George McAvoy, said he had seen a man who looked like Hall arguing with a young woman near the murder scene.
NAUGHTY BOY: Crook George Clooney steals federal marshal Jennifer Lopez's heart in Out Of Sight, Sky Movies Modern Greats, 10.
Now, crook George Farrow faces a bleak new year unless he cleans up his act.