off the hook


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off the hook

1. Pardoned, vindicated, released; allowed or able 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 (typically resulting in a busy signal and the inability to receive calls). 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 ?
With a godly context, a little "reality therapy", some encouragement, and the firm refusal of both her mother and her teacher to let her off the hook, I believe Shelley learned an important lesson that day.
WIMBLEDON grader Off The Hook, debutante winner of the opener at Plough Lane on Tuesday night was sent off a 1-4 favourite for the A9 graded event, writes Phil Donaldson.
Senate subcommittee may get the New York-based bank off the hook for money laundering, her statements about Raul Salinas's riches rekindled widely rumored suspicions of corruption surrounding the sale of Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) during the Carlos Salinas Administration (1988-94).
"I thought that by doing research, opening an office and informing people, the phone would ring off the hook," says Leffall.
The Times seems to take apathy as a given, letting the news media completely off the hook. Newsweek -- an increasingly degenerate publication that is now really a cross between Glamour and People -- did not devote one cover story to breaking political or international news in recent weeks.
`The next day the group's phone rang off the hook with people wanting to give donations,' Carlisle recalls.
For too long the French Renaissance has fallen between two schools: its Italianate character (and Italian personnel) let the northernists off the hook, yet clearly the French Renaissance was not a simple extension of the Italian (one need only look at St.
Instead of cutting back health services, lawmakers would let the alliances off the hook and allow them to not repay the loans.
Excessive bipartisanship and overreliance on nonpolitical hired help injured the committee more-and allowed the administration to get off the hook.
And Saints man McGinn was let off the hook despite appearing to catch Dundee United's Cammy Smith with a flying elbow in the Tannadice side's win in Paisley.
This basically means he is off the hook money-wise from now on, but he still has the criminal case pending, so it's not over yet.
WALTER Mitty chef James Stocks has been let off the hook over pounds 2500 theft claims.
Why do the police let them off the hook? Time our MSPs showed some guts and wiped this menace off our streets once and for all.
Around noon on Thursday, August 12, my phone started g off the hook. New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey had just announced that he is gay and would resign, and it seemed as if the bookers from every television talk show in America--CNN's American Morning to ABC's Nightline--had simultaneously had the exact same thought: Let's get Arianna Huffington.
Within 24 hours of clear-the-air talks with FA chief executive Mark Palios, the 28- year old had been plunged into another suspension nightmare, with a three-match ban looming should Arsenal fail to get their man off the hook. ``Sol will be staunchly defended,'' said an Arsenal statement.