Hook, Line, and Sinker

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Swallow something hook, line, and sinker
Fall for something hook, line, and sinker

Meaning of Idiom 'Hook, Line, and Sinker'

Hook, line, and sinker means completely and without doubt or reservation; to be completely tricked or believe a lie or deception. 3,2,1


This idiom is often used in the forms swallow something hook, line, and sinker or fall for something hook, line, or sinker 2 but many other variations are possible.

Examples of Use

"Roger said he had changed and would never cheat on Susan again. As usual, she fell for it hook, line, and sinker."

"My teacher swallowed my excuse hook, line, and sinker."


This idiom refers to fishing, in which a baited hook is attached to the end of a fishing line, and a leaded weight (sinker) is attached some distance further up the line. The allusion is to a hungry fish swallowing not only the baited hook but the sinker and line in between, as well; something that hardly ever happens. The expression was first recorded in 1865. 1

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
3. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.

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