"close-fitting garment covering the foot and leg," 1583, from stocka
"leg covering, stock," from O.E. stocu
"sleeve," related to O.E. stocc
"trunk, log" (see stock
(n.1)). Probably so called because of a fancied resemblance of legs to tree trunks, or a reference to the punishing stocks. Cognates include O.N. stuka
, O.H.G. stuhha
, from the same P.Gmc. source. Restriction to women's hose is 20c. As a receptacle for Christmas presents, attested from 1853; hence stocking stuffer
first recorded 1976.