1. The lightweight elastic outer bark of the cork oak, used especially for bottle closures, insulation, floats, and crafts.
a. Something made of cork, especially a bottle stopper.
b. A bottle stopper made of other material, such as plastic.
3. A small float used on a fishing line or net to buoy up the line or net or to indicate when a fish bites.
4. Botany A nonliving, water-resistant protective tissue that is formed on the outside of the cork cambium in the woody stems and roots of many seed plants. Also called phellem.
tr.v. corked, cork·ing, corks
1. To stop or seal with or as if with a cork.
2. To restrain or check; hold back: tried to cork my anger.
3. To blacken with burnt cork.
[Middle English corke, cork, cork-soled shoe, probably ultimately from Arabic dialectal qurq, perhaps (via Berber) from Latin cortex, cortic-, bark; see CORTEX.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.