Etymology
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stocks (n.)

instrument of punishment and confinement formerly widely used in Europe and America (usually for vagrants and petty offenders), early 14c., from stock (n.1), because they consisted of large wooden blocks.

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Definitions of stocks

stocks (n.)
a frame that supports a boat while it is under construction;
stocks (n.)
a frame for constraining an animal while it is receiving veterinary attention or while being shod;
stocks (n.)
a former instrument of punishment consisting of a heavy timber frame with holes in which the feet (and sometimes the hands) of an offender could be locked;
From wordnet.princeton.edu