Where does the word “Stockade” come from and What does Stockade mean?

One of those curious words which have entered English with both Romance and Teutonic backgrounds, stockade comes to us through the French estacade from the Spanish estacada, “a fortification consisting of a row of stakes.”

But estacada is from estaca, “a stake,” which is derived from the Teutonic root stak-, a variant of the verb root stek-, “to pierce.”

In more normal fashion, this same Teutonic root has given us our own stake through the Anglo-Saxon staca, “a post stuck in the ground.”

Palisade, which is a quite similar fortification, is purely of Romance origin, coming from the French palissade, from palis, “a fence”; pal, “a stake”; and ultimately from the Latin palus, “a stake, especially one used for punishment of criminals.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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