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A stocking, sometimes referred to as hose, is a close-fitting, variously elastic garment covering the foot and lower part of the leg. Stockings vary in color and transparency. By analogy, the term is also used to describe a type of horse marking in which the white coloring extends from the horse's hoof to just above the knee.
Fashion often dictates the popularity of stockings along with the styles that are available. It was formerly made of woven cloth but now of knitted wool, silk, cotton or nylon (see hosiery). The word stock used to refer to the bottom "stump" part of the body, and by analogy the word was used to refer to the one-piece covering of the lower trunk and limbs of the 1400s essentially tights consisting of the upper-stocks (later to be worn separately as knee breeches) and nether-stocks (later to be worn separately as stockings).
Half-stockings, covering the foot and part of the calf only, are commonly called socks. This word is an adaptation of Latin soccus, a slipper or light shoe. It was the shoe worn by the actors in Roman comedy and so was used symbolically of comedy, as buskin, the high boot, was of tragedy.