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By Hook or by Crook

Posted by James Briggs on September 28, 2000

In Reply to: By Hook or by Crook posted by Barney on September 28, 2000

: What is the origin of the phrase 'by hook or by crook' which I understand to mean that the end will be pursued by any and all means..

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.