Features named Hook are found on both land and water. On water, hook is the term for an acute, hooklike bend in a river or stream; the Hallowell Hook in the Kennebec River of Maine is an example. As a landform, hook is another name for a recurved spit—the low, tonguelike shoal of land that extends from shore into a body of water that then curves back landward. The hooked shape of a recurved spit is sculpted by a complex interplay of natural forces, including winds, wave refraction, and opposing ocean currents. The dynamic nature of a recurved spit can be seen at Sandy Hook, a compound recurved spit that extends into the major channel leading into New York Harbor: due to the ongoing northward expansion of the shoal, the lighthouse built on Sandy Hook in 1764, which originally stood five hundred feet from the tip of the hook, now stands one and one half miles inland. As a word for a landform, hook seems related to the Dutch hoek, which means “corner” or “nook”; in nineteenth-century usage, a cornerlike scrap of land was sometimes called a hook.

Emily Hiestand