c. 1200, "hook-shaped instrument or weapon; tool or utensil consisting of or having as an essential component a hook or curved piece of metal," from Old Norse krokr "hook, corner," cognate with Old High German kracho "hooked tool," of obscure origin but perhaps related to the widespread group of Germanic kr- words meaning "bent, hooked." If there was an Old English *croc it has not been found.
From late 14c. as "a bend or curved part;" late 15c. as "any bend, turn, or curve." From mid-15c. as "a shepherd's staff with a curved top." Meaning "swindler" is American English, 1879, from crooked in figurative sense of "dishonest, crooked in conduct" (1708). Crook "dishonest trick" was in Middle English, especially in reference to the wiles of the Devil.
late 12c., "bend, cause to assume an angular or curved form," from crook (n.) or from an unrecorded Old English *crōcian. Intransitive sense of "to have a crooked shape, to bend or be bent" is from c. 1300. Crookback "hunchback" is from late 15c.
early 13c., "bent, curved, in a bent shape," past-participle adjective from crook (v.). In the figurative sense of "dishonest, false, treacherous, not straight in conduct" is from c. 1200. Related: Crookedly; crookedness.
Middle English crucche, "a support for the lame in walking consisting of a staff of proper length with a crosspiece at one end shaped to fit conveniently under the armpit," from Old English crycce "crutch, staff," from Proto-Germanic *krukjo (source also of Old Saxon krukka, Middle Dutch crucke, Old High German krucka, German Kröcke "crutch," related to Old Norse krokr "hook;" see crook (n.)).
Figurative sense of "a prop, a support" is first recorded c. 1600. As a verb, from 1640s.
Century Dictionary writes, "Akin to crook, with which in the Romance languages its derivatives are mingled" (Italian gruccia "crutch," crocco "hook" are Germanic loan-words).
lawn game played with balls, mallets, hoops, and pegs, 1851, from French, from Northern French dialect croquet "hockey stick," from Old North French "shepherd's crook," from Old French croc (12c.), from Old Norse krokr "hook" (see crook (n.)). The game originated in Brittany and was popularized in Ireland c. 1830 in England c. 1850 and was very popular in the latter place until 1872.
Qui est-ce qui a inventé le croquet? On l'ignore. On sait qui a imaginé l'imprimerie, qui a découvert la vapeur, et l'on ne connaît pas l'inventeur du croquet. O ingratitude! A moins, pourtant, qu'enfant de la nature et sorti tout entier de la main du Créateur, comme Ève de la côte d'Adam, il ne se soit inventé tout seul. [Jacques Boucher de Perthes, "Hommes et Choses; Alphabet des Passion et des Sensations," Paris, 1850]
mid-15c., creke "narrow inlet in a coastline," altered from kryk (early 13c.; in place names from 12c.), probably from Old Norse kriki "corner, nook," perhaps influenced by Anglo-French crique, itself from a Scandinavian source via Norman. Perhaps ultimately related to crook and with an original notion of "full of bends and turns" (compare dialectal Swedish krik "corner, bend; creek, cove").
Extended to "inlet or short arm of a river" by 1570s, which probably led to use for "small stream, brook" in American English (1620s). In U.S. commonly pronounced and formerly sometimes spelled crick. Also used there and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand for "branch of a main river," possibly from explorers moving up main rivers and seeing and noting mouths of tributaries without knowing they often were extensive rivers of their own.
Slang phrase up the creek "in trouble" (often especially "pregnant") is attested by 1941, perhaps originally armed forces slang for "lost while on patrol," or perhaps a cleaned-up version of the older up shit creek in the same sense.
1590s, "to zig-zag, run in a winding course," from crank (n.) "a bend, a crook," hence "a winding," for which see crank (n.). From 1793 as "to bend into a crank shape;" 1834 as "attach a crank to;" meaning "to turn a crank" is first attested 1908, with reference to automobile engines. Related: Cranked; cranking.
1530s, "pitchfork," from Old North French croche "shepherd's crook," variant of croc "hook," from Old Norse krokr "hook," which is of obscure origin but perhaps related to the widespread group of Germanic kr- words meaning "bent, hooked."
From 1570s as "any fork or forking," especially "a parting of branches of a tree;" meaning "region where the body forks" is attested from 1590s. Hence crotchcutter "women's bathing suit with leg openings which reach above the hips" (by 1997).