Word Origin & History
"joint in the hind leg of a horse," 1540, earlier hockshin, from O.E. hoh-sinu "Achilles' tendon," lit. "heel sinew," from hoh "heel," from P.Gmc. *khankha- (cf. Ger. Hachse "hock," O.E. hæla "heel").
"Rhenish wine," 1625, shortening of Hockamore, from Ger. Hochheimer, from Hochheim, town on the Main where wine was made, sense extended to Ger. white wines in general.
"pawn, debt," first recorded 1859 in Amer.Eng. as in hock, which meant both "in debt" and "in prison," from Du. hok "jail, pen, doghouse." 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]