Any of the genus Rumex of coarse weedy plants with small green flowers related to buckwheat, especially bitter dock (Rumex obtusifolius (species)), and used as potherbs and in folk medicine, especially in curing nettle rash.
From Middle English dokke, from Old English docce, from Proto-Germanic *dukk- (compare Old Danish dokke ("water-dock"), West Flemish dokke, dokkebladeren), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰew- ("dark") (compare Latvian duga ("scum, slime on water")).
From Middle English dok, from Old English *docce, *docca (as in fingirdoccana), from Proto-West Germanic *dokkā, from Proto-Germanic *dukkǭ (compare West Frisian dok ("bunch, ball (twine)"), Low German Dokke ("bundle of straw"), Icelandic dokkur ("stumpy tail")), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeu-k- ("to spin, shake") (compare Lithuanian dvė̃kti ("to breathe, wheeze"), dvãkas, Albanian dak ("big ram"), Sanskrit धुक्षति ("to blow")).
From Middle English dokken, from the noun (see above).
From early modern English "area of mud in which a ship can rest at low tide, dock", borrowed from Dutch dok or Middle Low German docke, both from Middle Dutch docke, of uncertain origin. The original sense may have been "the furrow a grounded vessel makes in a mud bank" . Compare modern Dutch dok, modern German Low German Dock, West Frisian dok, German Dock, Danish dok, Swedish docka.
Some sources link this word to an unattested Middle Dutch *docke, which is a ghost word, only being inferred from Mediaeval Latin documents in the form of ducta, doctus, doccia. However, if this theory is correct, then it would relate the word to Italian doccia, making dock a doublet of douche, and duct.
An alternative theory ties Middle Dutch docke to a North Germanic/Scandinavian source, notably Old Norse dǫkk, related to Norwegian dokk, Old Icelandic dökk, dökð, Swedish dank. If so, this would make dock a dank.
Originally criminal slang; from or akin to Dutch (West Flemish) dok or docke.
Modern English dictionary
Explore and search massive catalog of over 900,000 word meanings.
Word of the Day
Get a curated memorable word every day.
Level up your vocabulary by setting personal goals.