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[staw-king] /ˈstɔ kɪŋ/
the act or an instance of stalking, or harassing another in an aggressive, often threatening and illegal manner:
Stalking is now a crime in many states.
of or relating to the act of pursuing or harassing:
Stalking laws have alleviated some problems for famous people.
Origin of stalking
stalk2 (verb) + -ing1
Related forms
stalkingly, adverb


[stawk] /stɔk/
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
Related forms
stalkable, adjective
stalker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for stalking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A hundred yards or so more and the stalking badge would have been won, and with it the Eagle award.

    Tom Slade on Mystery Trail Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • There is left in every man something of the primeval love of stalking.

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • The striped animal had been stalking the antelope, but they had scented him just in time.

  • "Come on," he said, stalking toward the side door and not waiting to see her to her feet.

    Americans All Various
  • And now the worst possible death was stalking his benefactor, driving,—always driving without pity.

    From the Housetops George Barr McCutcheon
British Dictionary definitions for stalking


the main stem of a herbaceous plant
any of various subsidiary plant stems, such as a leafstalk (petiole) or flower stalk (peduncle)
a slender supporting structure in animals such as crinoids and certain protozoans, coelenterates, and barnacles
any long slender supporting shaft or column
Derived Forms
stalked, adjective
stalkless, adjective
stalklike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: probably a diminutive formed from Old English stalu upright piece of wood; related to Old Frisian staal handle


to follow or approach (game, prey, etc) stealthily and quietly
to pursue persistently and, sometimes, attack (a person with whom one is obsessed, often a celebrity)
to spread over (a place) in a menacing or grim manner: fever stalked the camp
(intransitive) to walk in a haughty, stiff, or threatening way: he stalked out in disgust
to search or draw (a piece of land) for prey
the act of stalking
a stiff or threatening stride
Derived Forms
stalker, noun
Word Origin
Old English bestealcian to walk stealthily; related to Middle Low German stolkeren, Danish stalke
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for stalking



"stem of a plant," early 14c., probably a diminutive (with -k suffix) of stale "one of the uprights of a ladder, handle, stalk," from Old English stalu "wooden part" (as of a harp), from Proto-Germanic *stalo; related to Old English steala "stalk, support," and steall "place" (see stall (n.1)).


"pursue stealthily," Old English -stealcian, as in bestealcian "to steal along," from Proto-Germanic *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. Related: Stalked; stalking.

A stalking-horse was literally a horse trained to allow a fowler to conceal himself behind it to get within range of the game; figurative sense of "person who participates in a proceeding to disguise its real purpose" is recorded from 1610s.

"walk haughtily" (opposite meaning of stalk (v.1)) is 1520s, perhaps from stalk (n.) with a notion of "long, awkward strides," or from Old English stealcung "a stalking," related to stealc "steep, lofty."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stalking in Medicine

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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stalking in Science
  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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Slang definitions & phrases for stalking


Related Terms

pull up stakes

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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