Native English speakers, could you please help me with these issues?

1. Does 'off the hook' mean 'OUT OF TROUBLE'?

2. And can the expression used with the opposite meaning?

For instance, would it make sense if I said:

"I hope he belives us, or we're IN THE HOOK."


"I hope he belives us, or we're HOOKED."

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    To be “off the hook” is to be no longer responsible for something, to be relieved of a former obligation or accusation. 

    “In the hook” is never said. One is either “on” or “off” it. 

    Being “hooked” has a separate meaning altogether.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    The word "hook" in this instance refers to a fishing hook.

    "On the hook" in fishing refers to being "caught".

    I suppose the opposite would be "off the hook", not "in the hook".

    I'm old and I find it humorous that while many young people might understand the general meaning of the expression, they don't actually understand what "hook" refers to.

    Being "hooked", or being "hooked on" something also comes from the fishing hook logic.

    He's hooked on something or somebody.

    Interesting question that you asked!

  • 4 weeks ago

    The opposite of 'on' is not 'in', but 'off'.

    In/out. On/off.

  • 4 weeks ago

    No...on the hook is not used although logically it makes sense.

    And "off the hook" can have several meanings. The one you know about: out of trouble. As in "My boss left me off the hook for that screw up."

    But it can also mean: off the responsibility for.... As in "My boss left me off the hook for getting the truck loaded."

    The "hook" is of course a fishing hook. And when you're on the hook, you are captured and at the mercy of the fisherman. But when you're off the hook you can swim away free and are not held accountable or not responsible for whatever the imaginary hook had you hooked onto.

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  • John
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    It quite literally comes from fishing.  You are the fish, under water, and above you is a faint fishing line with a fish hook on it full of tasty bait.  Your fate, and the answer to your question, depends on what comes next.

  • susan
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Off the hook means out of trouble. 

    On the hook means you are going to have to pay money for something. Context is usually having to pay money because someone else didn't pay what they should have. Example: "My daughter borrowed money when she bought a car, and I cosigned on her loan. She stopped making payments when she lost her job, so I'm on the hook for the $5000 she still owes."

  • A.J.
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    "Off the hook" means as closest similar "no longer responsible [for]" and "On the hook" means "responsible [for]".  If used related to a problem, out of trouble and in trouble.

    Here is one example of not "trouble":

    I'm on the hook to babysit for my brother tomorrow, so I can't go to the movies.

    Mom and dad cancelled their night out, so I'm off the hook and can go with you.

    I borrowed my dad's car and got into a minor accident and I'm on the hook for $300 to repair it. I don't have the money. (I'm in trouble) (I'm responsible to pay $300 for repairs to the car)

    My dad let me off the hook if I work in his shop all week. (I no longer owe the money).

    The expression is linked to responsibility.

    It's ON and OFF, rather than ON vs IN.

    SCREWED and F*CKED are also used as expletives (swear words) for "in trouble".

    "I hope he believes us, or we're screwed."  This is common in America today where language curse words have become common.

    Another sample - "I got caught cheating on the test! I'm so f-cked!"

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Yes, it means "out of trouble." I've never heard "in the hook" or "hooked" (in that sense), but I have occasionally heard "on the hook." But it's much less frequent than "off the hook."

  • 4 weeks ago

    No, it's just 'off the hook' which means you won't be blamed for something, it's not used in any other variant.

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