noun, plural socks or for 1, also sox.

a short stocking usually reaching to the calf or just above the ankle.
a lightweight shoe worn by ancient Greek and Roman comic actors.
comic writing for the theater; comedy or comic drama.Compare buskin(def 4).
Furniture. a raised vertical area of a club or pad foot.


    knock one's/the socks off. knock(def 29).

Origin of sock

before 900; Middle English socke, Old English soccLatin soccus slipper
Related formssock·less, adjectivesock·less·ness, noun



verb (used with object)

to strike or hit hard.


a hard blow.
a very successful show, performance, actor, etc.: The show was a sock.


extremely successful: a sock performance.

Verb Phrases

sock away, to put into savings or reserve.
sock in, to close or ground because of adverse weather conditions: The airport was socked in.

Origin of sock

First recorded in 1690–1700; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for socks

Contemporary Examples of socks

Historical Examples of socks

  • And about how to keep Katie in order about your socks, and all sorts of things.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "The wife told me," said Marion, calmly, rolling up her socks.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • And now I haven't a thing, not a handkerchief, not a pair of socks!

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • The minister's clothes were mended and his socks darned as they had not been since his mother's day.

    Keziah Coffin

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Mike, on her opposite arm, was struggling to lave his socks in it.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

British Dictionary definitions for socks




a cloth covering for the foot, reaching to between the ankle and knee and worn inside a shoe
an insole put in a shoe, as to make it fit better
a light shoe worn by actors in ancient Greek and Roman comedy, sometimes taken to allude to comic drama in general (as in the phrase sock and buskin)See buskin
another name for windsock
pull one's socks up British informal to make a determined effort, esp in order to regain control of a situation
put a sock in it British slang be quiet!


(tr) to provide with socks
socked in US and Canadian slang (of an airport) closed by adverse weather conditions

Word Origin for sock

Old English socc a light shoe, from Latin soccus, from Greek sukkhos




(usually tr) to hit with force
sock it to to make a forceful impression on


a forceful blow

Word Origin for sock

C17: of obscure origin
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 socks



"knitted or woven covering for the foot, short stocking," early 14c., from Old English socc "slipper, light shoe," from Latin soccus "slipper, light low-heeled shoe," probably a variant of Greek sykchos, word for a kind of shoe, perhaps from Phrygian or another Asiatic language. The Latin word was borrowed generally in West Germanic, e.g. Middle Dutch socke, Dutch sok, Old High German soc, German Socke. To knock the socks off (someone) "beat thoroughly" is recorded from 1845, American English colloquial. Teen slang sock hop is c.1950, from notion of dancing without shoes.



1700, "to beat, hit hard, pitch into," of uncertain origin. To sock it to (someone) first recorded 1877.



"to stash (money) away as savings," 1942, American English, from the notion of hiding one's money in a sock (see sock (n.1)).



"a blow, a hit with the fist," 1700, from or related to sock (v.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper