1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Stocking

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STOCKING (a diminutive of “stock,” post, stump, properly that which is stuck or fixed), a close-fitting covering for the foot and lower part of the leg, formerly made of cloth but now of wool, silk or cotton thread knitted by hand or woven on a frame (see Hosiery). “Stock” being the stump, i.e. the part left when the body is cut off, the word was applied to the whole covering of the lower limbs, which was formerly in one piece, the “upper stocks” and “nether-stocks” forming the two pieces into which it was subsequently divided, when the upper part became the trunk hose and later knee-breeches, the lower the “stockings.” A parallel is found in French; the hose are chausses, the upper part haut de chausses, the stockings bas de chausses, or simply bas. The German Strumpf, stocking, means also a stump, pointing to the original use of the word. Half-stockings, reaching to the lower part of the calf of the leg, and worn by men since the use of the long trousers has superseded knee-breeches, and also by children, are usually styled “socks.” This word is an adaptation of Latin soccus, a slipper or light shoe. It was the shoe worn by the actors in Roman comedy—and so was used symbolically of comedy, as “buskin,” the high boot or cothurnus, was of tragedy.