1 [shok]
a sudden and violent blow or impact; collision.
a sudden or violent disturbance or commotion: the shock of battle.
a sudden or violent disturbance of the mind, emotions, or sensibilities: The burglary was a shock to her sense of security. The book provided a shock, nothing more.
the cause of such a disturbance: The rebuke came as a shock.
Pathology. a collapse of circulatory function, caused by severe injury, blood loss, or disease, and characterized by pallor, sweating, weak pulse, and very low blood pressure. Compare anaphylactic shock, cardiogenic shock, hypovolemic shock.
the physiological effect produced by the passage of an electric current through the body.
shocks, Informal. shock absorbers, especially in the suspension of an automobile.
verb (used with object)
to strike or jar with intense surprise, horror, disgust, etc.: He enjoyed shocking people.
to strike against violently.
to give an electric shock to.
verb (used without object)
to undergo a shock.

1555–65; < Middle French choc armed encounter, noun derivative of choquer to clash (in battle) < Germanic; compare Dutch schokken to shake, jolt, jerk

shockable, adjective
shockability, noun
shockedness, noun
shocklike, adjective
unshockability, noun
unshockable, adjective

8. stagger, astound, stupefy. Shock, startle, paralyze, stun suggest a sudden, sharp surprise that affects one somewhat like a blow. Shock suggests a strong blow, as it were, to one's nerves, sentiments, sense of decency, etc.: The onlookers were shocked by the accident. Startle implies the sharp surprise of sudden fright: to be startled by a loud noise. Paralyze implies such a complete shock as to render one temporarily helpless: paralyzed with fear. Stun implies such a shock as bewilders or stupefies: stunned by the realization of an unpleasant truth. Unabridged


2 [shok]
a group of sheaves of grain placed on end and supporting one another in the field.
verb (used with object)
to make into shocks.

1275–1325; Middle English; cognate with Low German schok shock of grain, group of sixty, German Schock sixty

shocker, noun


3 [shok]
a thick, bushy mass, as of hair.
Also, shock dog. a dog with long, shaggy hair.
shaggy, as hair.

1810–20; special use of shock2, the hair being compared to a shock of wheat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shock1 (ʃɒk)
1.  to experience or cause to experience extreme horror, disgust, surprise, etc: the atrocities shocked us; she shocks easily
2.  to cause a state of shock in (a person)
3.  to come or cause to come into violent contact; jar
4.  a sudden and violent jarring blow or impact
5.  something that causes a sudden and violent disturbance in the emotions: the shock of her father's death made her ill
6.  pathol a state of bodily collapse or near collapse caused by circulatory failure or sudden lowering of the blood pressure, as from severe bleeding, burns, fright, etc
7.  pathol pain and muscular spasm as the physical reaction to an electric current passing through the body
[C16: from Old French choc, from choquier to make violent contact with, of Germanic origin; related to Middle High German schoc]

shock2 (ʃɒk)
1.  a number of sheaves set on end in a field to dry
2.  a pile or stack of unthreshed corn
3.  (tr) to set up (sheaves) in shocks
[C14: probably of Germanic origin; compare Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schok shock of corn, group of sixty]

shock3 (ʃɒk)
1.  a thick bushy mass, esp of hair
2.  rare bushy; shaggy
[C19: perhaps from shock²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"sudden blow," 1565, a military term, from M.Fr. choc "violent attack," from O.Fr. choquer "strike against," probably from Frankish, from a P.Gmc. imitative base (cf. M.Du. schokken "to push, jolt," O.H.G. scoc "jolt, swing"). Meaning "a sudden and disturbing impression on the mind" is from 1705; medical
sense is attested from 1804. The verb, "to come into violent contact" is attested from 1576; meaning "to give (something) an electric shock" is from 1706; sense of "to offend, displease" is first recorded 1694. Shock-absorber is attested from 1906; shock wave is from 1907. Shocking pink introduced Feb. 1937 by It.-born fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Shocker "something that shocks or excites" is from 1824. Shock troops (1917) translates Ger. stoßtruppen and preserves the word's original military sense.

"bundle of grain," early 14c., from M.L.G. schok "shock of corn," originally "group of sixty," from P.Gmc. *skukka- (cf. O.S. skok, Du. schok "sixty pieces," Ger. Hocke "heap of sheaves").

"thick mass of hair," 1819, from earlier shock (adj.) "having thick hair" (1681), and a noun sense of "lap dog having long, shaggy hair" (1638), from shough (1599), the name for this type of dog, which was said to have been brought originally from Iceland; the word is perhaps from
shock (2), or from an O.N. variant of shag.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

shock (shŏk)

  1. Something that jars the mind or emotions as if with a violent, unexpected blow.

  2. The disturbance of function, equilibrium, or mental faculties caused by such a blow; violent agitation.

  3. A generally temporary massive physiological reaction to severe physical or emotional trauma, usually characterized by marked loss of blood pressure and depression of vital processes.

  4. The sensation and muscular spasm caused by an electric current passing through the body or a body part.

  5. The abnormally palpable impact of an accentuated heartbeat felt by a hand on the chest wall.

  1. To induce a state of physical shock in a person.

  2. To subject a person to an electric shock.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
shock   (shŏk)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. An instance of the passage of an electric current through the body. The amount of injury caused by electric shock depends on the type and strength of the current, the length of time the current is applied, and the route the current takes once it enters the body.

  2. A life-threatening condition marked by a severe drop in blood pressure, resulting from serious injury or illness.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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