in stock, on hand for use or sale: There are no more blue skirts in stock.
    lock, stock, and barrel. lock1(def 30).
    on the stocks,
    1. under construction, as especially a ship.
    2. in progress or preparation: a new novel on the stocks.
    out of stock, lacking a supply of, especially temporarily: We are out of stock in this item.
    take/put stock in, to put confidence in or attach importance to; believe; trust: Considering his general unreliability, I can't take stock in what he has told you.
    take stock,
    1. to make an inventory of stock on hand.
    2. to make an appraisal of resources or prospects: She took stock of her decorating scheme and decided it was time for a change.

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

Examples from the Web for stocks

Contemporary Examples of stocks

Historical Examples of stocks

  • They'll bear the stocks all they can while they're buying up.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • These losses are doubtless irreparable so far as the stocks in question are concerned.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Garmer tried to steer me off this line of stocks the other night.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Smith says he has got something to do with every one of the stocks.

  • I couldn't have supposed that in my presence people would be stocks and stones!

British Dictionary definitions for stocks


pl n

history an instrument of punishment consisting of a heavy wooden frame with holes in which the feet, hands, or head of an offender were locked
a frame in which an animal is held while receiving veterinary attention or while being shod
a frame used to support a boat while under construction
nautical a vertical post or shaft at the forward edge of a rudder, extended upwards for attachment to the steering controls
on the stocks in preparation or under construction



  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 stocks

instrument of punishment, early 14c., from stock (n.1).



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

Science definitions for stocks



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.

Culture definitions for stocks


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 stocks


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.