mid-14c., "remaining part of a severed arm or leg," from or cognate with M.L.G. stump
(from adj. meaning "mutilated, blunt, dull"), M.Du. stomp
"stump," from P.Gmc. *stump-
(cf. O.N. stumpr
, O.H.G., Ger. stumpf
"stump," Ger. Stummel
"piece cut off"), perhaps related to the root of stub
, but the connection in each case presents difficulties. Earliest form of the word in English is a now-obsolete verb meaning "to stumble over a tree-stump or other obstacle," attested from mid-13c. Meaning "part of a tree trunk left in the ground after felling" is from mid-15c. Sense of "walk clumsily" is first recorded c.1600; that of "baffle" is first recorded 1807, perhaps in reference to plowing newly cleared land.