• noun the hind leg joint of mammals, between the knee and the fetlock


  • The part of an animal between the foot and lower limb corresponding to the ankle and part of the lower calf of a human. It consists mainly of gristle and connective tissue with a little flesh. Used to provide gelatine by prolonged boiling.


  • verb to pawn. The word comes from the Dutch hok, the literal meaning of which is ‘hook’. In 19th-century Dutch slang, hok meant both debt and the clutches of creditors or the law, whence the English term.


  • noun the lower part of a leg of a pig, used for food


  • a German white wine produced in the Rhine region. The term originates from the town of Hochheim in the Rhine Valley, and is used only in British English.

Origin & History of “hock”

English has three words hock. The oldest, ‘joint of a quadruped corresponding to the human ankle’ (16th c.), is short for an earlier hockshin, which comes from Old English hōhsinu. this meant literally ‘heel-sinew’, and the hōh came from the same prehistoric Germanic source as produced modern English heel. In its original sense it can also be spelled hough, but for ‘joint of bacon’, first recorded in the 18th century, hock is the only spelling. Hock ‘Rhinewine’ (17th c.) is short for an earlier hockamore, an anglicization of Hochheimer (Hochheim, on the river main, is a centre of German wine production). Hock ‘pawn, debt’ (19th c.) comes from Dutch hok ‘prison’, hence ‘debt’; it was introduced to English by Dutch immigrants in the USA. The -hock of hollyhock, incidentally, comes from Old English hoc ‘mallow’ (and the holly- is an alteration of holy, and has no connection with holly).