stocking or stockinged

Discussion in 'English Only' started by fionasydney, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. fionasydney Member

    australia english
    I've always heard this as "stockinged" Eg. "Why are you creeping around in your stockinged feet"
    I've read it as "stocking" Eg. "She came down the stairs in her stocking feet"
    Which is correct?
  2. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Welcome to the forum, fionasydney.

    "Stocking feet" is more common and means feet covered only by socks (or stockings). "Stockinged feet" is unusual and I imagine means feet with stockings on.
  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I vote for "stockinged", Fiona.

    Welcome to the forums!
  4. lablady

    lablady Senior Member

    Central California
    English - USA
    And I vote for "stocking". :D

    We may have stumbled upon yet another AE/BE difference.

    While "stockinged feet" is unusual to my ear, I see that both are used. Googling yields more results for "stocking feet". I didn't select by country (and I don't consider searches to be the final authority). :)

    "stocking feet" --> 394,000 results
    "stockinged feet" --> 83,700 results

    And welcome to the forums, fionasydney!
  5. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Senior Member

    English - United States
    I agree with the Americans. I would say, "stocking feet."

    But that doesn't mean I think Loob is wrong. :)

    Just another example of our differences that never cease to amaze me.

    And yes...welcome, fionasydney. Happy Valentine's Day.

  6. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I hear both. I would use "stockinged" only because it makes sense. We wouldn't say "He settled his glove hands on the steering wheel"... we would say "gloved".
  7. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    It seems to me that the socks are a case of what I call the "disappearing 'ed' syndrome."

    Whereas the past participle is used as an adjective, common usage has swallowed the "ed" in many cases.

    For example:

    Skimmed milk => skim milk
    Hashed brown potatoes => hash brown potatoes
    Iced Cream => ice cream
    canned vegetables =>can vegetables
  8. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I don't think "stocking feet" means quite the same as "stockinged feet". It means with socks on but no shoes, just as "in his shirt sleeves" means with no coat on.
  9. mini_ste New Member

    Dublin, Ireland
    British English, Hiberno English
    "stockinged feet" sounds more natural to me, but personally I'd say / write that s/he came down the stairs in her/his stockings.
  10. mplsray Senior Member

    The evidence points to "stocking feet" having come first, being an attributive use of "stocking," with "stockinged feet" having resulted from a reinterpretation of "stocking feet."

    The following is from The Century Dictionary, an American dictionary of 1895, under the entry for "stocking": "--In one's stockings or stocking-feet, without shoes or slippers : used in statements of stature-measurement : as, he stands six feet in his stockings (that is, with his shoes off)."

    The Century was a very large dictionary and, like all other dictionaries of its time, a prescriptive one. If its editors had considered "in one's stockinged feet" to be correct, we would expect them to have included it under this entry.
  11. fionasydney Member

    australia english
    Thankyou everyone, I feel very welcome/welcomed!
  12. Lexiphile Senior Member

    England English
    In Twelfth Night, Malvolio is persuaded to appear "yellow stockinged, cross gartered." Clearly Shakespeare did not advocate the "disappearing 'ed'."
  13. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Welcome to the forum, mini_ste.
  14. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Maybe AmE got stocking feet from Scottish English?

    One of the OED's examples is 1854 THACKERAY Newcomes viii, Binnie found the Colonel..arrayed in what are called in Scotland his stocking-feet.
  15. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    But would you say someone was in shirt sleeves if he had no shirt on either, e.g. at the beach?
  16. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    The OED gives two meanings for stockinged:
    1. Furnished with stockings or with a stocking.
    2. Of the foot: Covered with a stocking only.

    The earliest examples of "stockinged" are from 1608 (meaning 1) and 1862 (meaning 2). Surely it's likelier that the second meaning was simply an extension of the first?
  17. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Well, I had no idea "stocking feet" existed! I presumed that people were hearing "stocking" for "stockinged" because that's the way it's usually pronounced in BE. The "ed" is often sort of swallowed, so "stockinged" sounds like "stocking".
  18. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Come to think of it, you wouldn't say He came downstairs in his feet, so is it not rather irregular to say He came downstairs in his stocking / stockinged / shoe / shod / boot / booted feet?
  19. Esca

    Esca Senior Member

    USA - English
    Haha... a very good point! ; )
    It doesn't make sense when you think about it!

    I suppose it just developed from "in one's stockings," but "in one's stocking feet" has the benefit of emphasizing the feet (doesn't it just have a great visual image to it, unlike "in one's stockings"?), to the same effect as "with only stockings on one's feet," but the final version is shorter and follows familiar phrases such as "in one's birthday suit," "in one's shirtsleeves," etc.
    That's how I'd make sense of it.
  20. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Indeed. It's just a more picturesque way of saying "with no shoes on", is it not?

    The phrase which readily springs to mind is "X stands X feet tall in his stockinged feet".
  21. mplsray Senior Member

    The OED shows that phrase under its entry "stocking," not "stockinged":

    "a. to stand (a specified height) in one's stockings, i.e. without one's shoes."

    The idiom is dated to 1855 and the OED says to compare "stocking-foot." The entry for that word shows the idea of "without one's shoes" thus:

    "c. (in, on) one's stocking feet: with only one's stockings on one's feet, without one's shoes."

    For this sense, the first dates shown are 1802, from "Cumbld. Ball" by R. Anderson, where it appears as "stockin feet." The passage seems to have been written in dialect, since the quote also has "teyme" for "time" and "bang'd" for "banged." The second cite, in the form "stocking feet," is from "Knickerb. III. iii." by Washington Irving, dated 1809.

    None of this is what we would expect the OED to show if "stockinged feet," meaning "without shoes," had come before "stocking feet."

    I also found an article from American Speech, Vol. 15, No. 3. (Oct., 1940), pp. 329-330, "Mr. Byington's Brief Case 'In His Stocking-Feet," where the author makes the case for "in his stockinged feet" being a "corruption" and "malformation of the 'sparrow-grass' type," that is, based upon a folk etymology. On page 329 he says, "But we never say in his shod feet, in his hatted head, in her gloved hands, and the like."

    As for the frequency, I have evidence that "in his stockinged feet" is rarer than "in his stockinged feet" even in British English. I was at a Barnes & Noble bookstore this evening, at a French conversation group, and looked in a Collins Robert French Dictionary, 8th ed., (C) 2006. Under the entry "stocking" it had "stocking feet NPL in one's ~ feet sans chaussures." As my fellow Americans are aware most foreign-language dictionaries are heavily slanted towards British use, and that includes the Collins Robert--which can be a bit annoying to many of us, but I certainly understand the economic realities which would lead to it being so. The lack of the variant "stockinged" suggests "in one's stockinged feet" is relatively rare even in Britain.

    I did look at a large German-English dictionary, and a large Italian-English dictionary, by other companies than Collins Robert, and they did indeed list the idiom using "stocking(ed)," but that does not change the fact that a major British-language oriented publisher (publisher collaboration?), Collins Robert, chose to ignore the "stockinged feet" variant.
  22. mplsray Senior Member

    This requires some clarification. Byington is discussing a description of a person, not of a part of that person. We do indeed say things such as :tick:"She wore a plain straw bonnet, neatly trimmed with white, and in her gloved hands she carried a small red Bible." We do not, however, say such things as :cross:"She walked in the snow in her gloved hands." and :cross:"There she stood in her gloved hands."

    Byington identifies as a "precise parallel" to "in his stocking-feet"--and so, something that is correct to say in English--"in his shirt-sleeves."

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