Can you tell me the origin of the saying “by hook or by crook”?
Reapers’ hooks and shepherds’ crooks are the instruments referred to here. In Old England, forests were the private property of the king, and permission to cut wood was rarely given. Commoners could take deadwood, though, and they increased their bounty by bringing down branches from the trees in any way they could—including by hook or by crook.
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