Animals In Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Appalachian Dialect

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Stock Still

My life in appalachia rabbits stand stock still

The other evening, Chitter came in from checking on the baby chicks and told me there was a rabbit sitting stock still just beyond the coop. I grabbed my camera and walked quietly out the back door.

I figured the rabbit would be gone, but it was still there sitting stock still pretending or hoping no one could see it.

According to the Take Our Word For It website, using the phrase stock still to describe something that isn’t moving can be traced as far back at the 15th century when it was used in a Scottish poem.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 5, 2019 at 9:45 am

    When I read your re-run of this earlier post, I thought right away to myself, we most always used to say…”stopped stock still!”…Sure enough there was the statement…”stopped stock still!”….at the last of my comment…
    If a rabbit stops stock still, you can raise your gun stock while it’s stock still and purt’near for shore have that rabbit for stew that evenin’! LOL
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve heard that term and understood what it meant, never knew where it came from though. Nice to know!!!
    We don’t see many bunnies our way. I don’t know why. Maybe this sand in the sandhills doesn’t make good warrens for them to live in. I can understand that.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    My family has always used stock-still as a phrase for when something isn’t moving

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    “Stock-still” is an expression I’ve used all my life and never gave a thought to where it came from – thanks, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    The picture of the bunny reminded me so of Choestoe–the community where I grew up–the Anglicized Cherokee word meaning “Place of the Dancing Rabbits.” We could imagine they were dancing–and definitely seemed to do so; and then, as yours there near your garden, they also stood “stock still”. I wonder if “stock still” also has a Christmas connotation, as it was said even the cows, sheep, and other farm animals “stood stock still and worshipped at the manger.”
    “It’s not that rabbits ever really danced there,
    But sometimes in the dusk when nothing happens,
    We could believe they danced, and wish them dancing.
    They came to sport forever in the name our country bears,
    One that the Indians gave it,
    A dancing place of rabbits.”
    -Byron Herbert Reece in his free verse poem (one of the very few free verse he wrote; he usually wrote in traditional lyric, sonnet or ballad). This is a long 3-page poem that tells so much of the mountain way of life.
    In a few days when I am not quite so busy, I will send you a copy on regular e-mail, Tipper. I know you will like to read it. When I was 15, I memorized selected sections of the poem and gave it in Atlanta at a literary competition! I remember it to this day and still quote it often when speaking to groups about Poet Reece! Sometimes even people are “stock still” listening as I quote his poetry!
    Thanks for the bunny! Thanks for the memories!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Tipper–I’m pretty much in the Charles Fletcher school of thought on this one. Young rabbit is mighty tasty, although rather than just baked I’ll opt for the way Momma fixed it. She would put pieces of quartered rabbits or squirrels in a pressure cooker for a short time with a bit of baking soda in the water. That got it almost fall-off-the-bone tender. Then she’d remove the meat, wash it thoroughly in cold water to remove any hint of the soda, and place the pieces in a baking dish. She’d put a pat of butter on top of each piece and bake until brown. My was that fine. My favorite side dish with it was baked sweet potatoes.
    Incidentally, you are lucky if the cottontails aren’t bothering your garden, I had to take some drastic measures connected with my sweet potatoes. They were eating the vines to the ground as soon as they put out new leaves. They are still working on a couple of things in the flower garden, but I’m a little more forgiving when it comes to things I can’t eat.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Charles-Tipper needs to wait a couple of months before she sets her Rabbit Gum. July ain’t got an R in it. Mr. Rabbit might have wolfs. By September it won’t be so young and tender but it should still be good.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Never heard that expression, but
    that little rabbit sure is cute.
    Every evening when I go home, my
    little short legged dog loves to
    run ’em out of our yard. But if
    one should bow-up, I don’t think
    he’d bother it none. Something’s
    been munchin’ on the lower black-
    berries. I thought it was an ole
    tarapin but I guess Rabbits like
    ’em too…Ken

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I find it amazing how still they can sit, like a statue. I think it is fascinating. At least I know they love to eat my f lowers and other plants, and there are not predators to come around to eat them.

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    July 30, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Is this why they say, “I’m going to the Live stock-yard today to sale my cattle or any other beast or rabbits? Also the work person in the stores stocks all the shelves and there is your gun-stock.
    P.S, Ate my first of this season, “turkey craw beans” yesterday. We do our beans that are runners, the same way that your Pap does.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Sheryl-the website I linked to says the ‘stock’ part comes into the phrase because it references a stalk or tree that is branchless but still standing straight. The variant of ‘stok’ is traced back to old England, and also has German, Danish, Dutch and Swedish origins.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 30, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Sweet picture, Tipper. Glad he is surviving without eating your lunch.
    I wonder about the origin of that expression. Do you suppose it could come from the hunter hunting the little rabbit and holding his gun stock still till he gets the best shot.
    On another topic, I canned sauerkraut this morning and I think it is some of the very best kraut I’ve ever made. It’s nice and tart. I usually just make kraut with whatever cabbage I can get. However I remember a woman telling me once that white cabbage is the best for kraut. I believe she called it Dutch White or something like that. Do you know of any suggested types of cabbage for kraut?

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    July 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Well Sir! STOCK STILL is another new expression for me! You keep on and I will learn to speak properly from more ancient times! LOVE IT! Can’t wait to ‘pull it’ on my bright grandsons!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 30, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Before I even got into your post I saw stock still. I said, in my thought, I will comment on stock still as I hadn’t heard anyone use it in a long time. I say it all the time! When someone bows up in front of us on the town road, besides screaming to my husband, I say “Well, he/she just stopped stock still!”
    Have you researched “stock still”?
    Other, than the Scottish poem, I wonder if the “stock were still” due to sleeping, being scared, or just something that sheep, cows, due in the late evening or early morning! Maybe it refers to “stock as a place to keep something”…guess I’ll have to check it out…
    Right now my brain has stopped stock still a’workin’…I think that little sweet veggie eatin’ bunny, just wanted his picture taken! Nothing like a baby bunny seen under the shrubs scattering about, so cute…Only my cat likes a closer look, and sometimes brings me one to the door and just lays the poor little thing a there…He don’t eat it, he just wants me to see it and have it. Sorry Fluffy, I can’t rewind your toy. It has stopped stock still!
    Loved your post today Tipper, and
    PS….Did he have a watch? I’m late, I’m late for a very important date, no time to lose, no time to wait, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late…remember the Mad Hatter?

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    July 30, 2013 at 7:31 am

    You were lucky to get that shot although they do freeze sometimes. Good picture!! So cute!

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    July 30, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Pap should make you a Rabbit Gum to catch that rabbit. Looks like a young one and nothing is better than a baked rabbit with lots of thick white gravy and hand patted biscuits..

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 30, 2013 at 7:20 am

    That’s interesting. Did it say why ‘stock’?

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Stock still-That’s a new one on me. But something I can use. I have seen animals stand stock still. Just the other day I saw a fox standing stock still but not long enough to go get a camera.
    I think the reason Flopsy hasn’t been bothering your garden is because this is his year to dine in mine.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 6:57 am

    they do that. i have a picture of it, too, taken on the farm here last summer.

  • Leave a Reply