stalk

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English stalke, diminutive of stale (ladder upright, stalk), from Old English stalu (wooden upright), from Proto-Germanic *stalǭ (compare Middle Low German stal, stale (chair leg)), variant of *steluz, *stelōn (stalk) (compare Old English stela, Dutch steel, German Stiel, Danish stilk), from Proto-Indo-European *stel- (compare Albanian shtalkë (crossbeam, board used as a door hinge), Welsh telm (frond), Ancient Greek στέλος (stélos, beam), Old Armenian ստեղն (stełn, trunk, stalk)).

Noun[edit]

stalk (plural stalks)

  1. The stem or main axis of a plant, which supports the seed-carrying parts.
    a stalk of wheat, rye, or oats;  the stalks of maize or hemp
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
      Three chairs of the steamer type, all maimed, comprised the furniture of this roof-garden, with [] on one of the copings a row of four red clay flower-pots filled with sun-baked dust from which gnarled and rusty stalks thrust themselves up like withered elfin limbs.
  2. The petiole, pedicel, or peduncle of a plant.
  3. Something resembling the stalk of a plant, such as the stem of a quill.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Grew to this entry?)
  4. (architecture) An ornament in the Corinthian capital resembling the stalk of a plant, from which the volutes and helices spring.
  5. One of the two upright pieces of a ladder.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)
  6. (zoology)
    1. A stem or peduncle, as in certain barnacles and crinoids.
    2. The narrow basal portion of the abdomen of a hymenopterous insect.
    3. The peduncle of the eyes of decapod crustaceans.
  7. (metalworking) An iron bar with projections inserted in a core to strengthen it; a core arbor.

Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English stalken, from Old English *stealcian (as in bestealcian (to move stealthily), stealcung (stalking)), from Proto-Germanic *stalkōną (to stalk, move stealthily) (compare Dutch stelkeren, stolkeren (to tip-toe, tread carefully), Danish stalke (to high step, stalk), Norwegian dialectal stalka (to trudge)), from *stalkaz, *stelkaz (compare Old English stealc (steep), Old Norse stelkr, stjalkr (knot (bird), red sandpiper)), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)telg, *(s)tolg- (compare Middle Irish tolg (strength), Lithuanian stalgùs (stiff, defiant, proud)).[1]

Alternate etymology connects Proto-Germanic *stalkōną to a frequentative form of *stelaną (to steal).

Verb[edit]

stalk (third-person singular simple present stalks, present participle stalking, simple past and past participle stalked)

  1. (transitive) To approach slowly and quietly in order not to be discovered when getting closer.
  2. (transitive) To (try to) follow or contact someone constantly, often resulting in harassment.Wp
    My ex-girlfriend is stalking me.
  3. (intransitive) To walk slowly and cautiously; to walk in a stealthy, noiseless manner.
    • 1681, John Dryden, The Spanish Fryar: Or, the Double Discovery. [], London: Printed for Richard Tonson and Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 6484883, Expression error: Unexpected < operator.:
      [Bertran] stalks close behind her, like a witch's fiend, / Pressing to be employed.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  4. (intransitive) To walk behind something, such as a screen, for the purpose of approaching game; to proceed under cover.

Conjugation[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun[edit]

stalk (plural stalks)

  1. A particular episode of trying to follow or contact someone.
  2. The hunting of a wild animal by stealthy approach.
    • (Can we date this quote by Theodore Roosevelt and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      When the stalk was over (the antelope took alarm and ran off before I was within rifle shot) I came back.

Related terms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert K. Barnhart and Sol Steinmetz, eds., Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, s.v. "stalk2" (New York: Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd., 2006), 1057.

Etymology 3[edit]

Attested 1530 in the sense "to walk haughtily", perhaps from Old English stealc (steep), from Proto-Germanic *stelkaz, *stalkaz (high, lofty, steep, stiff); see above.

Verb[edit]

stalk (third-person singular simple present stalks, present participle stalking, simple past and past participle stalked)

  1. (intransitive) To walk haughtily.
    • 1697, “The Tenth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 403869432:
      With manly mien he stalked along the ground.
    • 1704, Joseph Addison, Milton's Stile Imitated, in a Translation of a Story out of the Third Aeneid
      Then stalking through the deep, / He fords the ocean.
    • (Can we date this quote by Mericale and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      I forbear myself from entering the lists in which he has long stalked alone and unchallenged.

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

stalk (plural stalks)

  1. A haughty style of walking.

Anagrams[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

stalk

  1. first-person singular present indicative of stalken
  2. imperative of stalken