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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English crokke, from Old English crocc, crocca(crock, pot, vessel), from Proto-Germanic *krukkō, *krukkô(vessel), from Proto-Indo-European *k(')rōug(')-, *k(')rōuk(')-(vessel). Cognate with Dutch kruik(jar, jug), regional German Kruke(crock), Danish krukke(jar), Icelandic krukka(pot, jar), Old English crōg, crōh(crock, pitcher, vessel). See also cruse.


crock ‎(plural crocks)

  1. A stoneware or earthenware jar or storage container.
    • 1590-96, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 1750, The Works of Spenser, Volume 3, page 181,
      Therefore the Vulgar did about him flock / And cluster thick unto his leaſings vain; / Like fooliſh Flies about an Honey-Crock; / In hope by him great Benefit to gain, / And uncontrolled Freedom to obtain.
  2. A piece of broken pottery, a shard.
  3. (Britain) A person who is physically limited by age, illness or injury.
    Old crocks’ home = home for the aged
    • 1925, John Buchan, John Macnab, Gutenberg Australia eBook #0300621,
      He was getting very proud of the way he had learned to manage his game leg, and it occurred to him that here was a chance of testing his balance. [] “Not so bad that, for a crock,” he told himself, as he lay full length in the sun watching the faint line of the Haripol hills overtopping the ridge of Crask.
    • 1932, Helen Simpson, Boomerang, Gutenberg Australia eBook #0800611,
      He was in love with a girl, whose full name he did not tell me, and whom he had not seen for two years. She was a Lady Diana Someone, so much I knew, very lovely, a sort of relation, and he believed he had a chance if only the doctors could do something to help his asthma. “Can′t ask a girl to marry a crock.”
    • 2006 The Moving Finger part one, Miss Marple, 15 min, 20 year old bicycling tomboy to injured walker:
      Girl: "Will you always be a bit of a crock?"
      Man: "According to my doctor, no."
      Girl: "I was afraid you looked bad-tempered because you were crocked up for life."
  4. (Britain) An old or broken-down vehicle (and formerly a horse).
    Old crocks race = veteran car rally
  5. (slang, countable and uncountable) Silly talk, a foolish belief, a poor excuse, nonsense.
    That is a bunch of crock.
    The story is a crock.
  6. A low stool.
    • 1709, Isaac Bickerstaff (Richard Steele), The Tatler, 1822, Alexander Chalmers (editor), The Tatler, 2007 Facsimile Edition, page 12,
      I then inquired for the person that belonged to the petticoat; and, to my great surprise, was directed to a very beautiful young damsel, with so pretty a face and shape, that I bid her come out of the crowd, and seated her upon a little crock at my left hand.


crock ‎(third-person singular simple present crocks, present participle crocking, simple past and past participle crocked)

  1. To break something or injure someone.
    • 1904, P.G. Wodehouse, The Gold Bat [1]:
      "That last time I brought down Barry I crocked him. He's in his study now with a sprained ankle. ..."
    • 2007 January 3, Daily Mirror:
    Thousands of cars crocked by dodgy fuel
    • 2006 April 30, The Sunday Times:
    Ferreira ... peremptorily expunges England’s World Cup chances by crocking Wayne Rooney.
  2. (textiles, leatherworking) To transfer coloring through abrasion from one item to another.
    • 1917, John H. Pfingsten, "Colouring-matter for leather and method of using the same" [2], US Patent 1371572, page 1:
      thus producing a permanent, definite color thereon which will not fade or crock, and at the same time using up all of the coloring matter.
    • 1964, Isabel Barnum Wingate, Know Your Merchandise [3], page 109:
    Colored fabrics should be dried separately for the first few times to prevent crocking (rubbing off of dye).
    In leather garments, lining also prevents crocking of color onto skin or garments worn underneath.
  3. (horticulture) To cover the drain holes of a planter with stones or similar material, in order to ensure proper drainage.
    • 1900, H.A. Burberry, The Amateur Orchid Cultivators' Guide Book [5], page 21:
      The pots should be crocked for drainage to one-half their depth and the plants made moderately firm in the compost, as already indicated...
  4. (transitive, now dialectal) To put or store (something) in a crock or pot.
    • 1970, Donald Harington, Lightning Bug:
      She filled the pail and carried it down to the springhouse to crock it and leave it to cool.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Krueger, Dennis (December 1982). "Why On Earth Do They Call It Throwing?" Studio Potter Vol. 11, Number 1.[6] (etymology)

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare Welsh croeg(cover), Scots crochit(covered).


crock ‎(uncountable)

  1. The loose black particles collected from combustion, as on pots and kettles, or in a chimney; soot; smut.
  2. Colouring matter that rubs off from cloth.


crock ‎(third-person singular simple present crocks, present participle crocking, simple past and past participle crocked)

  1. (intransitive) To give off crock or smut.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.