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  1. a landing pier.
  2. the space or waterway between two piers or wharves, as for receiving a ship while in port.
  3. such a waterway, enclosed or open, together with the surrounding piers, wharves, etc.
  4. dry dock.
  5. a platform for loading and unloading trucks, railway freight cars, etc.
  6. an airplane hangar or repair shed.
  7. Also called scene dock. a place in a theater near the stage or beneath the floor of the stage for the storage of scenery.
verb (used with object)
  1. to bring (a ship or boat) into a dock; lay up in a dock.
  2. to place in dry dock, as for repairs, cleaning, or painting.
  3. to join (a space vehicle) with another or with a space station in outer space.
verb (used without object)
  1. to come or go into a dock or dry dock.
  2. (of two space vehicles) to join together in outer space.

Origin of dock1

1505–15; < Middle Dutch doc(ke)
Can be confuseddoc dockdock harbor pier wharf


  1. the solid or fleshy part of an animal's tail, as distinguished from the hair.
  2. the part of a tail left after cutting or clipping.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cut off the end of; cut short: to dock a tail.
  2. to cut short the tail of: to dock a horse.
  3. to deduct from the wages of, usually as a punishment: The boss docked him a day's pay.
  4. to deduct from (wages): The boss docked his paycheck $20.

Origin of dock2

1300–50; Middle English dok, Old English -docca, in fingirdoccana (genitive plural) finger muscles; cognate with Frisian dok, Low German docke bundle, Icelandic dokkur stumpy tail, Middle High German tocke bundle, sheaf
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for docking

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It's the most senseless thing in the world, this docking fashion.

    Beautiful Joe

    Marshall Saunders

  • One of them was docking us boys of our due allowance of sugar.

  • On this day while the tug-boat was docking us there he stood, white with rage.

    The Flying Bo'sun

    Arthur Mason

  • In docking lambs we have had the best success when the sign was at Taurus, Neck.

  • There is a skill of a very high order in docking an Atlantic liner at Liverpool.

British Dictionary definitions for docking


  1. a wharf or pier
  2. a space between two wharves or piers for the mooring of ships
  3. an area of water that can accommodate a ship and can be closed off to allow regulation of the water level
  4. short for dry dock
  5. short for scene dock
  6. mainly US and Canadian a platform from which lorries, goods trains, etc, are loaded and unloaded
  1. to moor (a vessel) at a dock or (of a vessel) to be moored at a dock
  2. to put (a vessel) into a dry dock for repairs or (of a vessel) to come into a dry dock
  3. (of two spacecraft) to link together in space or link together (two spacecraft) in space

Word Origin

C14: from Middle Dutch docke; perhaps related to Latin ducere to lead


  1. the bony part of the tail of an animal, esp a dog or sheep
  2. the part of an animal's tail left after the major part of it has been cut off
verb (tr)
  1. to remove (the tail or part of the tail) of (an animal) by cutting through the boneto dock a tail; to dock a horse
  2. to deduct (an amount) from (a person's wages, pension, etc)they docked a third of his wages

Word Origin

C14: dok, of uncertain origin


  1. an enclosed space in a court of law where the accused sits or stands during his trial

Word Origin

C16: from Flemish dok sty


  1. any of various temperate weedy plants of the polygonaceous genus Rumex, having greenish or reddish flowers and typically broad leaves
  2. any of several similar or related plants

Word Origin

Old English docce; related to Middle Dutch, Old Danish docke, Gaelic dogha
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

Word Origin and History for docking



"ship's berth," late 15c., from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German docke, perhaps ultimately (via Late Latin *ductia "aqueduct") from Latin ducere "to lead" (see duke (n.)); or possibly from a Scandinavian word for "low ground" (cf. Norwegian dokk "hollow, low ground"). Original sense perhaps "furrow a grounded vessel makes in a mud bank." As a verb from 1510s. Related: Docked; docking.



"where accused stands in court," 1580s, originally rogue's slang, from Flemish dok "pen or cage for animals," origin unknown.



"cut an animal's tail," late 14c., from dok (n.) "fleshy part of an animal's tail" (mid-14c.), related to Old English -docca "muscle," from Proto-Germanic *dokko "something round, bundle" (cf. Old Norse dokka "bundle, girl," Danish dukke "doll," German Docke "small column, bundle, doll, smart girl"). Meaning "to reduce (someone's) pay for some infraction" is first recorded 1822. Related: Docked; docking.



name for various tall, coarse weeds, Old English docce, from Proto-Germanic *dokkon (cf. Middle Dutch docke-, German Docken-, Old Danish dokka), akin to Middle High German tocke "bundle, tuft," and ultimately to the noun source of dock (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with docking


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.