stalk

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun the main stem of a plant which holds the plant upright
  • noun a subsidiary stem of a plant, branching out from the main stem or attaching a leaf, flower or fruit

Medical

  • noun a piece of tissue which attaches a growth to the main tissue

Military

  • verb to creep towards a person or vehicle, in order to shoot at him or it from a close range

Origin & History of “stalk”

English has two distinct words stalk. The noun, ‘plant stem’ (14th c.), probably originated as a diminutive form of the now extinct stale ‘long handle’, a word distantly related to Greek steleā́ ‘handle’. The verb, ‘track stealthily’ (OE), goes back to a prehistoric Germanic *stalkōjan, which was formed from the same base as produced English steal. The sense ‘walk haughtily’, diametrically opposed to ‘track stealthily’, emerged in the 16th century.
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