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Why do we do something by hook or by crook?

Here's an expression with a certain air of determination to it. It even sounds like you will somehow find a way of accomplishing a task, whatever you have to do to get it done.

By Hook or Crook By Hook or Crook
This is a shepherd's crook. This is a billhook. Shepherd's might pull down branches with their shepherd crook then cut them with a billhook.

But nothing in the sound of hook and crook even hints that they refer to the gathering of firewood. In the Middle Ages, peasants dared not cut down the trees on the Lord's estate to gather fuel for their hearth. But traditionally they were allowed to take whatever wood they could cut from the branches using a hook, a pole with a curved blade at the end, or a shepherd's crook, the long staff with the curved end. Over the centuries, ironically, this expression that originated in doing something only under specified conditions came to mean doing anything in any way you could.

By hook or by crook” means by any way, means, or tactic to get the job done may be employed.     The only rule is to get the job donel.

Example: “I don’t care how you get the job done, whether by hook or by crook, just have it done before the next meeting.”

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