Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
"joint in the hind leg of a horse," mid-15c., earlier hockshin (late 14c.), from Old English hohsinu "sinew of the heel, Achilles' tendon," literally "heel sinew," from hoh "heel," from Proto-Germanic *hanhaz (cf. German Hachse "hock," Old English hæla "heel"), from PIE *kenk- (3) "heel, bend of the knee."
"Rhenish wine," 1620s, shortening of Hockamore, from German Hochheimer, "(wine) of Hochheim," town on the Main where wine was made; sense extended to German white wines in general.
"pawn, debt," 1859, American English, in hock, which meant both "in debt" and "in prison," from Dutch hok "jail, pen, doghouse, hutch, hovel." The verb is 1878, from the noun.
When one gambler is caught by another, smarter than himself, and is beat, then he is in hock. Men are only caught, or put in hock, on the race-tracks, or on the steamboats down South. ... Among thieves a man is in hock when he is in prison. [G.W. Matsell, "Vocabulum," 1859]
The state of pawn: I've got to get my typewriter out of hockverb
To pawn: I hocked my diamond ring (1878+)Related Terms
[apparently fr Dutch hok, ''prison''; the earliest US use was in hock, ''in prison''; perhaps also fr the underworld phrase in hock, ''caught,'' fr the notion that one is taken ''by the heels,'' or hocks]
To pester; nag; chatter incessantly: whom my mother kept hocking my father to promote to director/ Stop already hocking us to be good/ with her hokking and her kvetching
[1940s+; fr Yiddish hok in the idiom hok a chynik, ''knock a teapot,'' meaning ''chatter constantly, talk foolishness,'' perhaps because such talking resembled the loud whacking of a pot]