a close-fitting covering for the foot and part of the leg, usually knitted, of wool, cotton, nylon, silk, or similar material.
something resembling such a covering.


    in one's stocking feet, wearing stockings, but without shoes: Be careful of glass splinters if you walk through here in your stocking feet.

Origin of stocking

First recorded in 1575–85; stock + -ing1
Related formsstock·inged, adjectivestock·ing·less, adjectivehalf-stock·ing, nouno·ver·stock·ing, nounun·stock·inged, adjective




a supply of goods kept on hand for sale to customers by a merchant, distributor, manufacturer, etc.; inventory.
a quantity of something accumulated, as for future use: a stock of provisions.
Theater. a stock company: a job in summer stock.
  1. the outstanding capital of a company or corporation.
  2. the shares of a particular company or corporation.
  3. the certificate of ownership of such stock; stock certificate.
  4. (formerly) a tally or stick used in transactions between a debtor and a creditor.
  1. Also called grafting, a stem in which the bud or scion is inserted.
  2. a stem, tree, or plant that furnishes slips or cuttings; stock plant.
the trunk or main stem of a tree or other plant, as distinguished from roots and branches.
the type from which a group of animals or plants has been derived.
a species or other related group of animals or plants.
the person from whom a given line of descent is derived; the original progenitor.
a line of descent or lineage; a racial or ethnic group.
Linguistics. a category consisting of language families that, because of resemblances in grammatical structure and vocabulary, are considered likely to be related by common origin.Compare family(def 14), phylum(def 2).
any grouping of related languages.
the handle of a whip, fishing rod, etc.
  1. the wooden or metal piece to which the barrel and mechanism of a rifle are attached.
  2. a part of an automatic weapon, as a machine gun, similar in position or function.
the trunk or stump of a tree, left standing.
a dull or stupid person.
something lifeless or senseless.
the main upright part of anything, especially a supporting structure.
  1. a former instrument of punishment consisting of a framework with holes for securing the ankles and, sometimes, the wrists, used to expose an offender to public derision.Compare pillory(def 1).
  2. a frame in which a horse or other animal is secured in a standing position for shoeing or for a veterinary operation.
  3. the frame on which a boat rests while under construction.
  1. a vertical shaft forming part of a rudder and controlling the rudder's movement.
  2. a transverse piece of wood or metal near the ring on some anchors.
the metal or wooden body of a carpenter's plane.
  1. material being smelted in a blast furnace.
  2. a metal piece to be forged.
  1. a specified quality or kind of paper: glossy stock; card stock; offset stock.
  2. the paper for printing a particular job: We don't have enough stock for that large a run.
the raw material from which something is made.
Papermaking. stuff(def 15).
Cookery. the liquor or broth prepared by boiling meat, fish, chicken, etc., with or without vegetables or seasonings, and used especially as a foundation for soups and sauces.
any of several plants belonging to the genus Matthiola, of the mustard family, especially M. incana, having fragrant white, blue, purple, reddish, or yellowish flowers.
a rhizome or rootstock.
Zoology. a compound organism, as a colony of corals.
a collar or a neckcloth fitting like a band around the neck.
Cards. the portion of a pack of cards that, in certain games, is not dealt out to the players, but is left on the table, to be drawn from as occasion requires.
an adjustable wrench for holding dies for cutting screws.
Railroads. rolling stock.
Dominoes. boneyard(def 3).
Informal. stock car(def 1).
Roman Catholic Church. one of a set of three metal containers for holy oil.
Geology, Mining. an irregular igneous intrusion, usually an offshoot of a batholith, often mineralized.
Archaic. a stocking.
Obsolete. the frame of a plow to which the share, handles, etc., are attached.


kept regularly on hand, as for use or sale; staple; standard: stock articles.
having as one's job the care of a concern's goods: a stock clerk.
of the common or ordinary type; in common use: a stock argument.
banal; commonplace: a stock remark.
pertaining to or designating the breeding and raising of livestock: stock farming.
Southern U.S. chiefly Southern Appalachian and (South Atlantic States ). (of farm animals) being a fully grown male: a stock hog.
of or relating to the stock of a company or corporation: a stock report.
  1. pertaining to a stock company.
  2. appearing together in a repertoire, as a company.
  3. forming part of a repertoire, as a play.
  4. being a character type fixed by convention, as in the commedia dell'-arte, a harlequinade, minstrel show, or the like.
Informal. of, relating to, or characteristic of a stock car.

verb (used with object)

to furnish with a stock or supply.
to furnish with stock, as a farm with horses, cattle, etc.
to lay up in store, as for future use.
to fasten to or provide with a stock, as a rifle, plow, bell, anchor, etc.
to put in the stocks as a punishment.

verb (used without object)

to lay in a stock of something (often followed by up).

Origin of stock

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English stoc(c) stump, stake, post, log; cognate with German Stock, Old Norse stokkr tree-trunk; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related formsstock·like, adjectivede·stock, verb (used with object)non·stock, noun, adjectivepre·stock, noun, verb (used with object)sub·stock, nounun·stocked, adjectivewell-stocked, adjective

Synonyms for stock Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stocking

hose, sock, hosiery, nylons

Examples from the Web for stocking

Contemporary Examples of stocking

Historical Examples of stocking

  • It will not prevent you from wearing your shoe and stocking.

  • Then he showed me how he could move in his stocking feet and no one could hear him.

    W. A. G.'s Tale

    Margaret Turnbull

  • He must have hooked his missus's stocking with all the savings gained at very hard work.


    Emile Zola

  • He bent over her and carefully restored her stocking and shoe.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • So then Fluffy went for a walk with the other dolls, but I had to darn a hole in my stocking.

    Five Mice in a Mouse-trap

    Laura E. Richards

British Dictionary definitions for stocking



one of a pair of close-fitting garments made of knitted yarn to cover the foot and part or all of the leg
something resembling this in position, function, appearance, etc
in one's stocking feet or in one's stockinged feet wearing stockings or socks but no shoes

Word Origin for stocking

C16: from dialect stock stocking + -ing 1



  1. (sometimes plural)the total goods or raw material kept on the premises of a shop or business
  2. (as modifier)a stock clerk; stock book
a supply of something stored for future usehe keeps a good stock of whisky
  1. the capital raised by a company through the issue and subscription of shares entitling their holders to dividends, partial ownership, and usually voting rights
  2. the proportion of such capital held by an individual shareholder
  3. the shares of a specified company or industry
  4. (formerly) the part of an account or tally given to a creditor
  5. the debt represented by this
standing or status
  1. farm animals, such as cattle and sheep, bred and kept for their meat, skins, etc
  2. (as modifier)stock farming
the trunk or main stem of a tree or other plant
  1. a rooted plant into which a scion is inserted during grafting
  2. a plant or stem from which cuttings are takenSee also rootstock
the original type from which a particular race, family, group, etc, is derived
a race, breed, or variety of animals or plants
(often plural) a small pen in which a single animal can be confined
a line of descent
any of the major subdivisions of the human species; race or ethnic group
the part of a rifle, sub-machine-gun, etc, into which the barrel and firing mechanism is set: held by the firer against the shoulder
the handle of something, such as a whip or fishing rod
the main body of a tool, such as the block of a plane
(formerly) the part of a plough to which the irons and handles were attached
the main upright part of a supporting structure
a liquid or broth in which meat, fish, bones, or vegetables have been simmered for a long time
film material before exposure and processing
  1. a portion of metal cut from a bar upon which a specific process, such as forging, is to be carried out
  2. the material that is smelted in a blast furnace
Also called: gillyflower any of several plants of the genus Matthiola, such as M. incana and M. bicornis (evening or night-scented stock), of the Mediterranean region, cultivated for their brightly coloured flowers: Brassicaceae (crucifers)
Virginian stock a similar and related North American plant, Malcolmia maritima
a long usually white neckcloth wrapped around the neck, worn in the 18th century and as part of modern riding dress
cards a pile of cards left after the deal in certain games, from which players draw
  1. the repertoire of plays available to a repertory company
  2. (as modifier)a stock play
(on some types of anchors) a crosspiece at the top of the shank under the ring
the centre of a wheel
an exposed igneous intrusion that is smaller in area than a batholith
a log or block of wood
an archaic word for stocking
in stock
  1. stored on the premises or available for sale or use
  2. supplied with goods of a specified kind
out of stock
  1. not immediately available for sale or use
  2. not having goods of a specified kind immediately available
take stock
  1. to make an inventory
  2. to make a general appraisal, esp of prospects, resources, etc
take stock in to attach importance to
lock, stock, and barrel See lock 1 (def. 7)


staple, standardstock sizes in clothes
(prenominal) being a cliché; hackneyeda stock phrase


(tr) to keep (goods) for sale
(intr; usually foll by up or up on) to obtain a store of (something) for future use or saleto stock up on beer
(tr) to supply with live animals, fish, etcto stock a farm
(intr) (of a plant) to put forth new shoots
(tr) obsolete to punish by putting in the stocks
See also stocks
Derived Formsstocker, noun

Word Origin for stock

Old English stocc trunk (of a tree), stem, stick (the various senses developed from these meanings, as trunk of a tree, hence line of descent; structures made of timber; a store of timber or other goods for future use, hence an aggregate of goods, animals, etc); related to Old Saxon, Old High German stock stick, stump
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 stocking

"close-fitting garment covering the foot and leg," 1580s, from stocka "leg covering, stock," from Old English stocu "sleeve," related to Old English stocc "trunk, log" (see stock (n.1)). Probably so called because of a fancied resemblance of legs to tree trunks, or a reference to the punishing stocks. Cognates include Old Norse stuka, Old High German stuhha, from the same Proto-Germanic source. Restriction to women's hose is 20c. As a receptacle for Christmas presents, attested from 1853; hence stocking stuffer first recorded 1976.



Old English stocc "stump, post, stake, tree trunk, log," also "pillory" (usually plural, stocks), from Proto-Germanic *stukkaz "tree trunk" (cf. Old Norse stokkr "block of wood, trunk of a tree," Old Saxon, Old Frisian stok, Middle Dutch stoc "tree trunk, stump," Dutch stok "stick, cane," Old High German stoc "tree trunk, stick," German Stock "stick, cane;" also Dutch stuk, German Stück "piece"), from PIE *(s)teu- (see steep (adj.)).

Meaning "ancestry, family" (late 14c.) is a figurative use of the "tree trunk" sense (cf. family tree). This is also the root of the meaning "heavy part of a tool," and "part of a rifle held against the shoulder" (1540s). Stock, lock, and barrel "the whole of a thing" is recorded from 1817. Meaning "framework on which a boat was constructed" (early 15c.) led to figurative phrase on stocks "planned and commenced" (1660s). Stock-still (late 15c.) is literally "as still as a tree trunk."



"supply for future use" (early 15c.), "sum of money" (mid-15c.), Middle English developments of stock (n.1), but the ultimate sense connection is uncertain. Perhaps the notion is of the "trunk" from which gains are an outgrowth, or obsolete sense of "money-box" (c.1400). Meaning "subscribed capital of a corporation" is from 1610s.

Stock exchange is attested from 1773. In stock "in the possession of a trader" is from 1610s. Meaning "broth made by boiling meat or vegetables" is from 1764. Theatrical use, in reference to a company regularly acting together at a given theater, is attested from 1761. Taking stock "making an inventory" is attested from 1736. As the collective term for the movable property of a farm, it is recorded from 1510s; hence livestock.



"to supply (a store) with stock," 1620s, from stock (n.2). Related: Stocked; stocking.



in reference to conversation or literature, "recurring, commonplace" (e.g. stock phrase), 1738, from stock (n.2) on notion of "kept in store for constant use."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stocking in Science



The trunk or main stem of a tree or another plant.
A plant or stem onto which a graft is made.
A plant or tree from which cuttings and scions are taken.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

stocking in Culture


A share in the ownership of a corporation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with stocking


see in stock; lock, stock, and barrel; make a laughing stock of; take stock; take stock in.

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