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[dek-ing] /ˈdɛk ɪŋ/
material, as paper or fiberboard, treated in various ways as a waterproof covering for a deck or roof.
material of concrete, asbestos, steel, or the like, in the form of self-supporting flooring or roofing units laid between joists or rafters.
Origin of decking
First recorded in 1525-35; deck + -ing1


[dek] /dɛk/
  1. a floorlike surface wholly or partially occupying one level of a hull, superstructure, or deckhouse, generally cambered, and often serving as a member for strengthening the structure of a vessel.
  2. the space between such a surface and the next such surface above:
    Our stateroom was on B deck.
any open platform suggesting an exposed deck of a ship.
an open, unroofed porch or platform extending from a house or other building.
Compare sun deck.
any level, tier, or vertical section, as of a structure or machine.
flight deck (def 2).
a flat or nearly flat watertight surface, as at the top of a French roof.
a floor or roof surface composed of decking units.
Meteorology. cloud deck. See cloud layer.
Slang. a small packet of a narcotic, especially heroin.
a pack of playing cards.
Printing. bank3 (def 8).
Also called rear deck. the cover of a space behind the backseat of an automobile or the space itself.
Library Science. a level of book shelving and associated facilities in the stacks of a library, as one of a series of floors or tiers.
Civil Engineering. (of a bridge truss) having a deck or floor upon or above the structure.
Compare through (def 22).
verb (used with object)
to clothe or attire (people) or array (rooms, houses, etc.) in something ornamental or decorative (often followed by out):
We were all decked out in our Sunday best. The church was decked with holly for the holiday season.
to furnish with a deck.
Informal. to knock down; floor:
The champion decked the challenger in the first round.
clear the decks,
  1. to prepare for combat, as by removing all unnecessary gear.
  2. to prepare for some activity or work, as by getting rid of hindrances.
hit the deck, Slang.
  1. Nautical. to rise from bed.
  2. to fall, drop, or be knocked to the ground or floor.
on deck,
  1. Baseball. next at bat; waiting one's turn to bat.
  2. Informal. next in line; coming up; scheduled.
  3. Informal. prepared to act or work; ready.
play with / have a full deck, Slang. to be sane, rational, or reasonably intelligent:
Whoever dreamed up this scheme wasn't playing with a full deck.
stack the deck. stack (def 24).
1425-75; (noun) late Middle English dekke material for covering < Middle Dutch dec covering, roof; (v.) < Dutch dekken to cover; cognate with German decken; cf. thatch
Related forms
undecked, adjective
17. bedeck, garnish, trim, bedizen, adorn, embellish; dress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for decking
Historical Examples
  • Ah, to duty they had bid farewell, the lady remarked softly, as she busied herself in decking Magda's hat with flowers.

    Magnhild Dust Bjrnstjerne Bjrnson
  • The ladder served for the decking of the may-pole and roof of the hall.

  • Women have elaborate head ornaments, decking their hair with artificial flowers, butterflies made of jade, gold pins and pearls.

  • The small trestles prepared by the engineers, ready for the decking.

    New Zealanders at Gallipoli Major Fred Waite
  • In Russia the custom of decking the houses with branches at Whitsuntide is universal.

    The Sacred Tree J. H. Philpot
  • Feigele, like all young girls, is fond of dressing and decking herself out.

    Yiddish Tales Various
  • This consisted of loose pieces of decking, which could easily be raised and removed for flushing and cleaning.

  • It is like decking the victim for the sacrifice, to see all these roses and green leaves.

    Uncle Max Rosa Nouchette Carey
  • None of the populace seemed to be too poor to purchase freely of the flowers, all decking their persons with them.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • We moved on hands and knees in the semi-darkness of the day under the decking.

    South! Sir Ernest Shackleton
British Dictionary definitions for decking


a wooden deck or platform, esp one in a garden for deckchairs, etc


(nautical) any of various platforms built into a vessel: a promenade deck, the poop deck
a similar floor or platform, as in a bus
  1. the horizontal platform that supports the turntable and pick-up of a record player
  2. See tape deck
(mainly US) a pack of playing cards
(computing, obsolete) Also called pack. a collection of punched cards relevant to a particular program
a raised wooden platform built in a garden to provide a seating area
(informal) clear the decks, to prepare for action, as by removing obstacles from a field of activity or combat
(informal) hit the deck
  1. to fall to the floor or ground, esp in order to avoid injury
  2. to prepare for action
  3. to get out of bed
verb (transitive)
(often foll by out) to dress or decorate
to build a deck on (a vessel)
(slang) to knock (a person) to the floor or ground
See also deck over
Derived Forms
decker, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Middle Dutch dec a covering; related to thatch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for decking



"knock down," c.1953, probably from deck (n.) on the notion of laying someone out on the deck. Related: Decked; decking.



"covering over part of a ship," mid-15c., perhaps a shortening of Middle Low German verdeck (or a related North Sea Germanic word), a nautical word, from ver- "fore" + decken "to cover, put under roof," from Proto-Germanic *thackjam (related to thatch, q.v.).

Sense extended early in English from "covering" to "platform of a ship." "Pack of cards" is 1590s, perhaps because they were stacked like decks of a ship. Deck chair (1884) so called because they were used on ocean liners. Tape deck (1949) is in reference to the flat surface of old reel-to-reel tape recorders.


"adorn" (as in deck the halls), early 15c., from Middle Dutch dekken "to cover," from the same Germanic root as deck (n.). Meaning "to cover" is from 1510s in English. Replaced Old English þeccan. Related: Decked; decking.

"knock down," c.1953, probably from deck (n.) on the notion of laying someone out on the deck. Related: Decked; decking.



"adorn" (as in deck the halls), early 15c., from Middle Dutch dekken "to cover," from the same Germanic root as deck (n.). Meaning "to cover" is from 1510s in English. Replaced Old English þeccan. Related: Decked; decking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for decking



  1. The roof of a railroad car (1853+)
  2. A package of narcotics; portion of a drug, esp three grains of heroin; bag: a deck of nose candy for sale (1922+ Narcotics)
  3. A package of cigarettes (1940s+)
  4. A skateboard (1990s+ Skateboarders)


To knock someone down, esp with the fist; floor: Remember that guy I decked in the restaurant? (1940s+)

Related Terms

cold deck, deal someone a poor deck, hit the deck, on deck, wet deck

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with decking


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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