1. a supply of goods kept on hand for sale to customers by a merchant, distributor, manufacturer, etc.; inventory.
  2. a quantity of something accumulated, as for future use: a stock of provisions.
  3. livestock.
  4. Theater. a stock company: a job in summer stock.
  5. Finance.
    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.
  6. Horticulture.
    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.
  7. the trunk or main stem of a tree or other plant, as distinguished from roots and branches.
  8. the type from which a group of animals or plants has been derived.
  9. a species or other related group of animals or plants.
  10. the person from whom a given line of descent is derived; the original progenitor.
  11. a line of descent or lineage; a racial or ethnic group.
  12. 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).
  13. any grouping of related languages.
  14. the handle of a whip, fishing rod, etc.
  15. Firearms.
    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.
  16. the trunk or stump of a tree, left standing.
  17. a dull or stupid person.
  18. something lifeless or senseless.
  19. the main upright part of anything, especially a supporting structure.
  20. stocks,
    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.
  21. Nautical.
    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.
  22. the metal or wooden body of a carpenter’s plane.
  23. Metallurgy.
    1. material being smelted in a blast furnace.
    2. a metal piece to be forged.
  24. Printing.
    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.
  25. the raw material from which something is made.
  26. Papermaking. stuff(def 15).
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. a rhizome or rootstock.
  30. Zoology. a compound organism, as a colony of corals.
  31. a collar or a neckcloth fitting like a band around the neck.
  32. 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.
  33. an adjustable wrench for holding dies for cutting screws.
  34. Railroads. rolling stock.
  35. Dominoes. boneyard(def 3).
  36. Informal. stock car(def 1).
  37. Roman Catholic Church. one of a set of three metal containers for holy oil.
  38. Geology, Mining. an irregular igneous intrusion, usually an offshoot of a batholith, often mineralized.
  39. Archaic. a stocking.
  40. Obsolete. the frame of a plow to which the share, handles, etc., are attached.


  1. kept regularly on hand, as for use or sale; staple; standard: stock articles.
  2. having as one’s job the care of a concern’s goods: a stock clerk.
  3. of the common or ordinary type; in common use: a stock argument.
  4. banal; commonplace: a stock remark.
  5. pertaining to or designating the breeding and raising of livestock: stock farming.
  6. Southern U.S. chiefly Southern Appalachian and (South Atlantic States ). (of farm animals) being a fully grown male: a stock hog.
  7. of or relating to the stock of a company or corporation: a stock report.
  8. Theater.
    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.
  9. Informal. of, relating to, or characteristic of a stock car.

verb (used with object)

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

verb (used without object)

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

  1. in stock, on hand for use or sale: There are no more blue skirts in stock.
  2. lock, stock, and barrel. lock1(def 30).
  3. on the stocks,
    1. under construction, as especially a ship.
    2. in progress or preparation: a new novel on the stocks.
  4. out of stock, lacking a supply of, especially temporarily: We are out of stock in this item.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


  1. (of a retailer) to reduce the amount of stock held or cease to stock certain products


    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
  1. a supply of something stored for future usehe keeps a good stock of whisky
  2. finance
    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
  3. standing or status
    1. farm animals, such as cattle and sheep, bred and kept for their meat, skins, etc
    2. (as modifier)stock farming
  4. the trunk or main stem of a tree or other plant
  5. horticulture
    1. a rooted plant into which a scion is inserted during grafting
    2. a plant or stem from which cuttings are takenSee also rootstock
  6. the original type from which a particular race, family, group, etc, is derived
  7. a race, breed, or variety of animals or plants
  8. (often plural) a small pen in which a single animal can be confined
  9. a line of descent
  10. any of the major subdivisions of the human species; race or ethnic group
  11. 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
  12. the handle of something, such as a whip or fishing rod
  13. the main body of a tool, such as the block of a plane
  14. short for diestock, gunstock, rolling stock
  15. (formerly) the part of a plough to which the irons and handles were attached
  16. the main upright part of a supporting structure
  17. a liquid or broth in which meat, fish, bones, or vegetables have been simmered for a long time
  18. film material before exposure and processing
  19. metallurgy
    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
  20. 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)
  21. Virginian stock a similar and related North American plant, Malcolmia maritima
  22. a long usually white neckcloth wrapped around the neck, worn in the 18th century and as part of modern riding dress
  23. 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
  24. (on some types of anchors) a crosspiece at the top of the shank under the ring
  25. the centre of a wheel
  26. an exposed igneous intrusion that is smaller in area than a batholith
  27. a log or block of wood
  28. See laughing stock
  29. an archaic word for stocking
  30. in stock
    1. stored on the premises or available for sale or use
    2. supplied with goods of a specified kind
  31. out of stock
    1. not immediately available for sale or use
    2. not having goods of a specified kind immediately available
  32. take stock
    1. to make an inventory
    2. to make a general appraisal, esp of prospects, resources, etc
  33. take stock in to attach importance to
  34. lock, stock, and barrel See lock 1 (def. 7)


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


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

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.”

  1. The trunk or main stem of a tree or another plant.
  2. A plant or stem onto which a graft is made.
  3. A plant or tree from which cuttings and scions are taken.

A share in the ownership of a corporation.

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

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