by hook or by crook


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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: by, crook, hook

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: by, crook, hook

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: by, 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: by, crook, hook

by hook or by crook

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

by hook or by crook

By any possible means. There is some disagreement as to the origin of this expression, which used to mean specifically by fair means or foul—that is, legal or illegal (crooked). One writer suggests it may come from the medieval custom authorizing one to help oneself to as much firewood as could be reached by a shepherd’s crook and cut down with a billhook. Others believe it simply uses rhyming words for “direct” (reachable with a long hook) and “indirect” (roundabout). In any event, it dates back to the time of the English theologian John Wycliffe, who used it in his Controversial Tracts (ca. 1380).
See also: by, 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: by, crook, hook
References in periodicals archive ?
The DVD edition of By Hook or By Crook offers fascinating insights into the movie's creation and the filmmakers' vision.
By Crystal's own admission, By Hook or by Crook is a linguistic travelogue.
England coach Mike Friday said: "The truth is we have won ugly here and by hook or by crook we have topped our pool.
Ewe-nion meeting By hook or by crook Left, Jenny Atwell and her dog Scratch; top, sheepdog Hattie in full flight as Yvonne Abrey competes; right, Judge Ken Powell studies the competition Left, John Griffiths with Taff; top, Derek Lloyd and Jack Burke study the form Pictures, JEREMY PARDOE
By hook or by crook, they want to stand in the way of the democratic will of the people.
Particularly groundbreaking are Judith Halberstam's analysis of the articulations of gender in By Hook or By Crook (2000) and Helen Hok-Sze Leung's explication of "Queer Asian Cinemas" both as an emergent social phenomenon and as an invention of queer festivals worldwide.
But he has warned it is vital Blues stay in the Premiership "by hook or by crook" if they are to rake in the finance needed to develop a stadium, training ground and squad of players to be proud of.
BY HOOK or by crook, even a dastardly band of pirates proved no match for Peter Pan when he journeyed to Neverland.
"Certainly, for the Adelaide Test I'm going to find out by hook or by crook what the weather and pitch conditions are.
Tisdale (above) said: "By hook or by crook we need the points to stay up and today was a good start.