Stock-still

Stock-still is an idiom that is hundreds of years old. We will examine the meaning of the idiom stock-still, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Stock-still means not moving, completely motionless. Stock-still implies being as physically quiet as a statue. The idiom stock-still is a hyphenated compound word according to the Oxford English Dictionary; however, it is often rendered as two, separate words with no hyphen. The expression stock-still originated in the 1400s. The word stock in stock-still means a tree stump; it is derived from the Old English word, stoc. In effect, the word stock-still means as immovable as a tree stump. Surprisingly, the idiom is still in use with its original meaning, even though the definition of stock to mean tree stump has fallen out of favor.

Examples

To get good footage of the birds, she has to stand stock-still despite aching shoulders, a stiff neck, and gawking onlookers. (The Australian)

There was a persistent scratching sound from beneath the floorboards, and every once in a while her dog would stand stock-still and then tremble. (The Asheville Citizen-Times)

Trying to convince people he was a statue, creating the illusion of having stood stock still, but adopting the mannerisms of his character was all part of the skill. (The Great Yarmouth Mercury)

He stood stock still and videoed the river creature as it ran towards him and nosily got close up to him before darting into the undergrowth. (The Newbury Weekly News)