1. not straight; bending; curved: a crooked path.
  2. askew; awry: The picture on the wall seems to be crooked.
  3. deformed: a man with a crooked back.
  4. not straightforward; dishonest.
  5. bent and often raised or moved to one side, as a finger or neck.
  6. (of a coin) polygonal: a crooked sixpence.


  1. a bent or curved implement, piece, appendage, etc.; hook.
  2. the hooked part of anything.
  3. an instrument or implement having a bent or curved part, as a shepherd’s staff hooked at one end or the crosier of a bishop or abbot.
  4. a dishonest person, especially a sharper, swindler, or thief.
  5. a bend, turn, or curve: a crook in the road.
  6. the act of crooking or bending.
  7. a pothook.
  8. Also called shank. a device on some musical wind instruments for changing the pitch, consisting of a piece of tubing inserted into the main tube.

verb (used with object)

  1. to bend; curve; make a crook in.
  2. Slang. to steal, cheat, or swindle: She crooked a ring from that shop.

verb (used without object)

  1. to bend; curve.


  1. bent, angled or winding
  2. set at an angle; not straight
  3. deformed or contorted
  4. informal dishonest or illegal
  5. crooked on (also krʊkt) Australian informal hostile or averse to


  1. a curved or hooked thing
  2. a staff with a hooked end, such as a bishop’s crosier or shepherd’s staff
  3. a turn or curve; bend
  4. informal a dishonest person, esp a swindler or thief
  5. the act or an instance of crooking or bending
  6. Also called: shank a piece of tubing added to a brass instrument in order to obtain a lower harmonic series


  1. to bend or curve or cause to bend or curve


  1. Australian and NZ informal
    1. ill
    2. of poor quality
    3. unpleasant; bad
  2. go crook or go off crook Australian and NZ informal to lose one’s temper
  3. go crook at or go crook on Australian and NZ informal to rebuke or upbraid

early 13c., “hook-shaped instrument or weapon,” from Old Norse krokr “hook, corner,” cognate with Old High German kracho “hooked tool,” of obscure origin but perhaps related to a widespread group of Germanic kr- words meaning “bent, hooked.” Meaning “swindler” is American English, 1879, from crooked in figurative sense of “dishonest” (1708). Crook “dishonest trick” was in Middle English.

In addition to the idioms beginning with crook

  • crook one’s elbow

also see:

  • by hook or crook

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