cork (n.)

c. 1300, "the light, elastic outer bark of a species of oak tree native to Iberia and North Africa, used for many purposes," from Spanish alcorque "cork sole," probably from earlier Spanish corcho, from Latin quercus "oak" (see Quercus) or cortex (genitive corticis) "bark" (see corium).

In reference to the tree itself, mid-15c. From late 14c. as "cork-soled shoe." As "cork float for a fishing line," mid-15c. Meaning "cylindrical cork stopper or bung for a bottle, etc.," 1520s. As an adjective, "made of cork," 1716.


place in Ireland, Englished from Irish Corcaigh, from corcach "marsh."

cork (v.)

1570s, "to put a cork sole on a shoe," from cork (n.)). Meaning "to stop with a cork" is from 1640s. Figurative sense "to stop or check" is from 1640s. Meaning "blacken with burnt cork," especially the face, to perform in theatrical blackface, is from 1836. Related: Corked; corking.

updated on March 31, 2018