Posted by James Briggs on March 22, 2001
In Reply to: By hook or by crook posted by Parick Grace on March 22, 2001
: Maybe because of our history, where Cromwell whipped out more than half the Irish population; I know the derivation as referring to the Mail boat's arrival at Waterford. I also have heard it stated 'by hook or by crook, by land or by sea'
By hook or by crook is a phrase which suggests that something is done by any means possible; by some means or other; one way or another. This goes back to medieval Britain when there was a custom for tenants of the Lord of the Manor to be allowed to collect firewood from the trees, but only as much as could be cut off with a bill-hook or pulled down with a shepherd's crook.