“Socking” isn’t just for Archie

19 02 2009

archieSo, this must be one of those Canadian/American cultural differences, or at least Canadian/Southern Californian.  At my work (with high school-aged foster kids) I’ve noticed that when the kids want to say they’re going to hit or punch someone they use the word “sock.”  ie. “I’m gonna sock you!”  

Now maybe it’s just me but I never used that term as a teenager and I don’t use it now.  The only time I had heard it used before was in my Archie comics.  I thought it was a term belonging to the 50s and 60s.  But apparently it is alive and thriving within the teenaged Southern Californian community.

And did you know that “sock” has several other definitions that I’ve never heard of before.  Take a look at this and tell me if you’re familiar with any of them (other than the obvious, of course).  *The following is taken from Dictionary.com.



1    [sok] Show IPA Pronunciation  

–noun, plural socks or, for 1, also sox. 

1. a short stocking usually reaching to the calf or just above the ankle.
2. a lightweight shoe worn by ancient Greek and Roman comic actors.
3. comic writing for the theater; comedy or comic drama.Compare buskin (def. 4).
4. Furniturea raised vertical area of a club or pad foot.

5. knock one’s or the socks off. knock (def. 29).
bef. 900; ME socke, OE socc ≪ L soccus slipper


2    [sok] Show IPA Pronunciation  

–verb (used with object) 

1. to strike or hit hard.


2. a hard blow.
3. a very successful show, performance, actor, etc.: The show was a sock.


4. extremely successful: a sock performance.

5. sock away, to put into savings or reserve.
6. sock in, to close or ground because of adverse weather conditions: The airport was socked in.
1690–1700; orig. uncert.



4 responses

20 02 2009
Aunt Lisa

Interesting….well I have to say something having teenagers going to high school in California and working at the school once a week and attending many, many sports events, concerts, etc. at the high school (and I’ve seen a few fights and had my kids tell me about some others). I remember when you posted the blog about the kids at your school wearing rubber bands around their pant legs and you were wondering if that was a Southern CA thing I told you I had never seen that at my kids schools – still haven’t. The same is true for your “sock you” comment. I’ve never heard any of the kids at my kids high school use that term. They’ll use terms like “hit, punch, pound, kill, etc” but not “sock.” And I’m not talking about just my kids who are in high school now I’m also talking about the other four that have graduated over the last 9 years – I’ve never heard that. I don’t know if it’s just that area you are working in or particular influences on those kids – maybe some of them have been reading Archie comics :D

20 02 2009

Oh I love Archie! I used to read him all the time!

21 02 2009

A sock at times can also be a weapon. I don’t know where it started, prison or maybe even the streets. Those nerdy knee high tube socks that most of us have worn at one time or another in P.E. class don’t just look deadly, they can be. People have been known to put anything from billard balls, rocks, even bars of soap in the ugly old knee highs. It can be a very dangerous weapon and often goes undetected as it is easily concealed. Often times when some one says they are going to “sock” some one they may mean that they really are going to “sock” some one. If you hear the kids talking about socking one another be careful and keep an eye out for anything hard that they might intend to put into a sock. It is possible that they may be trying to convey a more threatening message than just one punch. They may be trying to convey the message of a more serious beating. Most likey it is just kids blowing of steam and trying to talk bigger than they are, or maybe they read allot of Archie comics and watch allot of Flintstones and really do mean to convey the same message as Fred and Archie . It doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out for other meanings. Try asking the kids what they mean when they say that they are going to sock some one or that some one is going to sock them. You just might be surprised at the answers that they give you.

21 02 2009
Peter Leavitt

Bobby, I’m pretty sure the more malicious meaning of the “socking” has been lost on these kids. They use it in a very childish way, like we all used to use exaggerated threats as kids.

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