‘tail’ or perhaps ‘trimmed hair (of tail, etc.)’  (Modern English dock)


cp. Icel dokkur (masc.) ‘short tail’ (first recorded in the 18c.), which has been plausibly connected to the fem. nouns OIcel dokk, dokka ‘windlass’, Norw. dokka ‘bundle of thread’, Sw docka ‘skein, doll’, MHG tocke ‘tuft, doll, young girl’, OS dokka ‘doll’, MDu docke ‘doll’, Fris dok ‘bundle, bunch, ball’ and thus to a PGmc *ðukkōn whose underlying sense would therefore be ‘something wound together, bundle, cylinder’ (see OED, de Vries s.v. dokka, Mag. s.vv. dokkur, dokka, Orel s.v. *ðukkōn, Kluge-Seebold s.v. Docke). The wider etymology of this group of words is obscure; a connection to PIE root *dheu-k- ‘to shake, whirl’ has sometimes been suggested (e.g. de Vries s.v. dokka and Mag. s.v. dokka).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

cp. dokk, dokka 'windlass'
(ONP )

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Icel dokkur, Norw dokke; Icel dokk, Norw dokka, Sw docka

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



This is the only instance cited by MED for the ME n.; the next recorded instances in OED are from the 16c. and have no discernible dialectal distribution.  (The related verb is first attested in the late 14c; see MED s.v. dokken v., OED s.v. dock v.1.)

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 193

Opinions differ over the precise referent of Gaw 193: TGD and OED take it to refer to the tail itself, others to the trimming of the hair (Vant, PS, GDS, MED, AW).


MED dok (n.) , OED dock (n.2) , HTOED , EDD dock (sb.2 and v.1), Dance, Mag. dokkur