Other forms: crooked; crooks; crooking

A crook is long staff that’s bent at one end, like something you might see a shepherd carrying. A crook can also be a criminal — a person who’s dishonest, or bent, just like the staff.

The noun crook entered English in the 13th century as a way to describe the long tool with a hook at one end. It later took on the meaning of “petty criminal.” You can use crook as an informal way to describe someone who is dishonest. A crook is typically involved in minor or nonviolent crimes; you wouldn’t use the word to describe a murderer, for example. A con man or someone committing fraud could be called a crook.

Definitions of crook
  1. noun
    a long staff with one end being hook shaped
    synonyms: shepherd's crook
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian purpose
  2. noun
    a circular segment of a curve
    “a crook in the path”
    synonyms: bend, turn, twist
    see moresee less
    a bend or curve (especially in a coastline)
    type of:
    curve, curved shape
    the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes
  3. verb
    bend or cause to bend
    “He crooked his index finger”
    synonyms: curve
    see moresee less
    curve or bend (something) back or down
    type of:
    bend, flex
    form a curve
  4. noun
    someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime
    synonyms: criminal, felon, malefactor, outlaw
    see moresee less
    William H. Bonney
    United States outlaw who was said to have killed 21 men (1859-1881)
    Jesse James
    United States outlaw who fought as a Confederate soldier and later led a band of outlaws that robbed trains and banks in the West until he was murdered by a member of his own gang (1847-1882)
    Robert MacGregor
    Scottish clan leader and outlaw who was the subject of a 1817 novel by Sir Walter Scott (1671-1734)
    show 77 types...
    hide 77 types...
    accessary, accessory
    someone who helps another person commit a crime
    arsonist, firebug, incendiary
    a criminal who illegally sets fire to property
    blackmailer, extortioner, extortionist
    a criminal who extorts money from someone by threatening to expose embarrassing information about them
    bootlegger, moonshiner
    someone who makes or sells illegal liquor
    briber, suborner
    someone who pays (or otherwise incites) you to commit a wrongful act
    coconspirator, conspirator, machinator, plotter
    a member of a conspiracy
    desperado, desperate criminal
    a bold outlaw (especially on the American frontier)
    fugitive, fugitive from justice
    someone who is sought by law officers; someone trying to elude justice
    gangster, mobster
    a criminal who is a member of gang
    a corrupt politician
    highjacker, hijacker
    someone who uses force to take over a vehicle (especially an airplane) in order to reach an alternative destination
    goon, hood, hoodlum, punk, strong-armer, thug, tough, toughie
    an aggressive and violent young criminal
    gaolbird, jail bird, jailbird
    a criminal who has been jailed repeatedly
    abductor, kidnaper, kidnapper, snatcher
    someone who unlawfully seizes and detains a victim (usually for ransom)
    a member of the Mafia crime syndicate in the United States
    gangster's moll, gun moll, moll
    the girlfriend of a gangster
    liquidator, manslayer, murderer
    a criminal who commits homicide (who performs the unlawful premeditated killing of another human being)
    parolee, probationer
    someone released on probation or on parole
    drug dealer, drug peddler, drug trafficker, peddler, pusher
    an unlicensed dealer in illegal drugs
    someone who commits crimes for profit (especially one who obtains money by fraud or extortion)
    raper, rapist
    someone who forces another to have sexual intercourse
    habitual criminal, recidivist, repeater
    someone who is repeatedly arrested for criminal behavior (especially for the same criminal behavior)
    one who habitually ignores the law and does not answer court summonses
    contrabandist, moon curser, moon-curser, runner, smuggler
    someone who imports or exports without paying duties
    stealer, thief
    a criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it
    traitor, treasonist
    someone who betrays his country by committing treason
    law offender, lawbreaker, violator
    someone who violates the law
    a Parisian gangster
    a fugitive who runs away and hides to avoid arrest or prosecution
    abetter, abettor
    one who helps or encourages or incites another
    accessory after the fact
    a person who gives assistance or comfort to someone known to be a felon or known to be sought in connection with the commission of a felony
    accessory before the fact
    a person who procures or advises or commands the commission of a felony but who is not present at its perpetration
    accessory during the fact
    a person who witnesses a crime but does not try to prevent it
    assassin, assassinator, bravo
    a murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed
    a racketeer assigned to collect or distribute payoff money
    bandit, brigand
    an armed thief who is (usually) a member of a band
    someone who burns down a barn
    booster, lifter, shoplifter
    a thief who steals goods that are in a store
    a hired thug
    a thief who enters a building with intent to steal
    a brutal indiscriminate murderer
    collaborationist, collaborator, quisling
    someone who collaborates with an enemy occupying force
    collaborator, confederate, henchman, partner in crime
    someone who assists in a plot
    someone who smuggles illegal immigrants into the United States (usually across the Mexican border)
    crimp, crimper
    someone who tricks or coerces men into service as sailors or soldiers
    someone who murders by cutting the victim's throat
    dacoit, dakoit
    a member of an armed gang of robbers
    defalcator, embezzler, peculator
    someone who violates a trust by taking (money) for his own use
    someone who escapes
    fifth columnist, saboteur
    a member of a clandestine subversive organization who tries to help a potential invader
    a person who murders their brother or sister
    body snatcher, ghoul, graverobber
    someone who takes bodies from graves and sells them for anatomical dissection
    someone who steals valuables from graves or crypts
    gun, gun for hire, gunman, gunslinger, hired gun, hit man, hitman, shooter, torpedo, triggerman
    a professional killer who uses a gun
    arms-runner, gunrunner
    a smuggler of guns
    hatchet man, iceman
    a professional killer
    holdup man, stickup man
    an armed thief
    a person who murders an infant
    larcener, larcenist
    a person who commits larceny
    mass murderer
    a person who is responsible for the deaths of many victims in a single incident
    a woman murderer
    someone who kills his or her parent
    cutpurse, dip, pickpocket
    a thief who steals from the pockets or purses of others in public places
    literary pirate, pirate, plagiariser, plagiarist, plagiarizer
    someone who uses another person's words or ideas as if they were his own
    despoiler, freebooter, looter, pillager, plunderer, raider, spoiler
    someone who takes spoils or plunder (as in war)
    a murderer who slashes the victims with a knife
    a thief who steals from someone by threatening violence
    someone who illegally smuggles liquor across a border
    cattle thief, rustler
    someone who steals livestock (especially cattle)
    cracksman, safebreaker, safecracker
    a thief who breaks open safes to steal valuable contents
    serial killer, serial murderer
    someone who murders more than three victims one at a time in a relatively short interval
    seizer, shanghaier
    a kidnapper who drugs men and takes them for compulsory service aboard a ship
    a thief who grabs and runs
    pilferer, sneak thief, snitcher
    a thief who steals without using violence
    female traitor
    a Japanese gangster
    member of an international gang of Jamaican criminals who sell drugs and violence
    type of:
    (criminal law) any person involved in a criminal offense, regardless of whether the person profits from such involvement




DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘crook'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up crook for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer