• synonyms

sour dock

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  1. See under dock4(def 1).

Origin of sour dock

Middle English word dating back to 1275–1325


  1. any of various weedy plants belonging to the genus Rumex, of the buckwheat family, as R. obtusifolius (bitter dock) or R. acetosa (sour dock), having long taproots.
  2. any of various other plants, mostly coarse weeds.

Origin of dock4

before 1000; Middle English dokke, Old English docce; cognate with Middle Dutch docke, Middle High German tocke
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for sour dock


  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 sour dock



"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 sour dock


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