Butcher's Hook means "Look" in Cockney Rhyming Slang
Butcher's Hook is used across London and beyond, and widely understood throughout the UK. It's classic Cockney Rhyming Slang. It's a straightforward rhyme with no humourous intent - Butcher's Hook simply refers to the double-ended hook with which butchers would hang up joints of meat.
Butchers' shops were a fixture on every shopping street until the rise of the supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's with their pre-packaged product. Some butchers' shops managed to cling on, but in vastly reduced numbers. Perhaps the public lost it's taste for hanging carcasses in full view and meat cleavers on bloody counter tops! But, today London is seeing a resurgence of butchers' shops, with many specialising in locally sourced or organic product.
One place where the expression may have originated or taken firm root would have been Smithfield Meat Market - near Farringdon in the Cockney heartland. Smithfields has been a wholesale meat market for a thousand years and trade continues today in the purpose built building.
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