1 [stawk]
the stem or main axis of a plant.
any slender supporting or connecting part of a plant, as the petiole of a leaf, the peduncle of a flower, or the funicle of an ovule.
a similar structural part of an animal.
a stem, shaft, or slender supporting part of anything.
Automotive. a slender lever, usually mounted on or near the steering wheel, that is used by the driver to control a signal or function: The horn button is on the turn-signal stalk.

1275–1325; Middle English stalke, apparently equivalent to Old English stal(u) stave + -k diminutive suffix

stalklike, adjective Unabridged


2 [stawk]
verb (used without object)
to pursue or approach prey, quarry, etc., stealthily.
to walk with measured, stiff, or haughty strides: He was so angry he stalked away without saying goodbye.
to proceed in a steady, deliberate, or sinister manner: Famine stalked through the nation.
Obsolete. to walk or go stealthily along.
verb (used with object)
to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily.
to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game.
to proceed or spread through in a steady or sinister manner: Disease stalked the land.
an act or course of stalking quarry, prey, or the like: We shot the mountain goat after a five-hour stalk.
a slow, stiff stride or gait.

1250–1300; Middle English stalken (v.), representing the base of Old English bestealcian to move stealthily, stealcung stalking (gerund); akin to steal

stalkable, adjective
stalker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stalk1 (stɔːk)
1.  the main stem of a herbaceous plant
2.  any of various subsidiary plant stems, such as a leafstalk (petiole) or flower stalk (peduncle)
3.  a slender supporting structure in animals such as crinoids and certain protozoans, coelenterates, and barnacles
4.  any long slender supporting shaft or column
[C14: probably a diminutive formed from Old English stalu upright piece of wood; related to Old Frisian staal handle]

stalk2 (stɔːk)
1.  to follow or approach (game, prey, etc) stealthily and quietly
2.  to pursue persistently and, sometimes, attack (a person with whom one is obsessed, often a celebrity)
3.  to spread over (a place) in a menacing or grim manner: fever stalked the camp
4.  (intr) to walk in a haughty, stiff, or threatening way: he stalked out in disgust
5.  to search or draw (a piece of land) for prey
6.  the act of stalking
7.  a stiff or threatening stride
[Old English bestealcian to walk stealthily; related to Middle Low German stolkeren, Danish stalke]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"stem of a plant," early 14c., probably a dim. (with -k suffix) of stale "one of the uprights of a ladder, handle, stalk," from O.E. stalu "wooden part" (as of a harp), from P.Gmc. *stalo; related to O.E. steala "stalk, support," and steall "place" (see stall (2)).

"pursue stealthily," O.E. -stealcian, as in bestealcian "to steal along," from P.Gmc. *stalkojanan, probably from a frequentative of the root of steal (cf. hark from hear, talk from tell). Or it may be from a sense of stalk (v.1), influenced by
stalk (n.). Meaning "harass obsessively" first recorded 1991. Stalker earlier meant "a poacher" (1424) and "one who prowls for purposes of theft" (1508). A stalking-horse was lit. a horse trained to allow a fowler to conceal himself behind it to get within range of the game; fig. sense of "person who participates in a proceeding to disguise its real purpose" is recorded from 1612.

"walk haughtily" (opposite meaning of stalk (v1.)) is 1530, perhaps from stalk (n.) with a notion of "long, awkward strides," or from O.E. stealcung "a stalking," related to stealc "steep, lofty."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

stalk (stôk)
A slender or elongated support or structure, as one that connects or supports an organ.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
stalk   (stôk)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The main stem of a plant.

  2. A slender structure that supports a plant part, such as a flower or leaf.

  3. A slender supporting structure in certain other organisms, such as the reproductive structure in plasmodial slime molds or the part of a mushroom below the cap.

  4. A slender supporting or connecting part of an animal, such as the eyestalk of a lobster.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Trim off and discard tough stalks and base of fennel head.
But sometimes the stalks appear in clusters on leaves or other plant parts,
  usually not far from a colony of aphids.
Then scrunch the bundles to loosen the dry leaves from the stalks.
They first found six plants tied to corn stalks with string to hold them up.
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