- ^ Robert K. Barnhart and Sol Steinmetz, eds., Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, s.v. "stalk2" ( New York: Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd., 2006 ), 1057 .
Middle English stalke, diminutive of stale 'ladder upright, stalk', from Old English stalu 'wooden upright', from Proto-Germanic *stalōn ( 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 stélos 'beam', Old Armenian ստեղն ( stełn ) 'trunk, stalk' ) .
Middle English stalken, from Old English -stealcian ( as in Old English bestealcian 'to move stealthily', stealcung 'stalking' ), from Proto-Germanic *stalkōnan 'to 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' ).
Explanation of stalk by Wordnet Dictionary
- Stalk ( stak ), n. [OE. stalke, fr. AS. stael, stel, a stalk. See Stale a handle, Stall.]
1. ( Bot. ) The stem or main axis of a plant; as, “a stalk of wheat, rye, or oats; the stalks of maize or hemp.” The petiole, pedicel, or peduncle, of a plant.
2. That which resembles the stalk of a plant, as the stem of a quill. Grew.
3. ( Arch. ) An ornament in the Corinthian capital resembling the stalk of a plant, from which the volutes and helices spring.
4. One of the two upright pieces of a ladder. [Obs.]
To climb by the rungs and the stalks. Chaucer.
5. ( Zool. ) A stem or peduncle, as of certain barnacles and crinoids. The narrow basal portion of the abdomen of a hymenopterous insect. The peduncle of the eyes of decapod crustaceans.
6. ( Founding ) An iron bar with projections inserted in a core to strengthen it; a core arbor.
Stalk borer ( Zool. ), the larva of a noctuid moth ( Gortyna nitela ), which bores in the stalks of the raspberry, strawberry, tomato, asters, and many other garden plants, often doing much injury.
- Stalk, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Stalked ( stakt ); p. pr. & vb. n. Stalking.] [AS. staelcan, stealcian to go slowly; cf. stealc high, elevated, Dan. stalke to stalk; probably akin to 1st stalk.]
1. To walk slowly and cautiously; to walk in a stealthy, noiseless manner; -- sometimes used with a reflexive pronoun. Shak.
Into the chamber he stalked him full still. Chaucer.
[Bertran] stalks close behind her, like a witch's fiend,
Pressing to be employed. Dryden.
2. To walk behind something as a screen, for the purpose of approaching game; to proceed under cover.
The king . . . crept under the shoulder of his led horse; . . . “I must stalk,” said he. Bacon.
One underneath his horse, to get a shoot doth stalk. Drayton.
3. To walk with high and proud steps; -- usually implying the affectation of dignity, and indicating dislike. The word is used, however, especially by the poets, to express dignity of step.
With manly mien he stalked along the ground. Dryden.
Then stalking through the deep,
He fords the ocean. Addison.
I forbear myself from entering the lists in which he has long stalked alone and unchallenged. Merivale.
- Stalk ( stak ), v. t.
1. To approach under cover of a screen, or by stealth, for the purpose of killing, as game.
As for shooting a man from behind a wall, it is cruelly like to stalking a deer. Sir W. Scott.
2. To follow ( a person ) persistently, with or without attempts to evade detection; as, “the paparazzi stalk celebrities to get candid photographs; obsessed fans may stalk their favorite movie stars”.
- Stalk, n.
1. A high, proud, stately step or walk.
Thus twice before, . . .
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. Shak.
The which with monstrous stalk behind him stepped. Spenser.
2. The act or process of stalking.
When the stalk was over ( the antelope took alarm and ran off before I was within rifle shot ) I came back. T. Roosevelt.
Definition of stalk by GCIDE Dictionary