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STOCKS, crim. law. A machine commonly made of wood, with boles in it, in which to confine persons accused of or guilty of a crime.
     2. It was used either to confine unruly offenders by way of security, or convicted criminals for punishment.
     3. This barbarous punishment has been generally abandoned in the United States.

References in classic literature ?
Well, to change the subject -- for I think I've established my point that the stocks ought to be abol- ished.
The repeated accidents to their canoes had reduced their stock of provisions to five days' allowance, and there was now every appearance of soon having famine added to their other sufferings.
This purely fictitious state of the market was bound shortly to pass, and Ward Valley was not to be induced to change the even tenor of its way by any insane stock exchange flurry.
In the old days men used to worship stocks and stones and idols, and prayed to them to give them luck.
Having alluded to the subject of reversion, I may here refer to a statement often made by naturalists--namely, that our domestic varieties, when run wild, gradually but certainly revert in character to their aboriginal stocks.
Mrs Jarley's wrath on first learning that she had been threatened with the indignity of Stocks and Penance, passed all description.
Well, I have brought this stocking-- for which, if I might but use them, I have at the moment a stock of the most appropriately endearing adjectives--for the same purpose.
And it swung the valiant little company up to such a pinnacle of prosperity that its stock went skyrocketing until it touched one thousand dollars a share.
If the stock had not been old and overcrowded, the Wax-moth would never have entered; but where bees are too thick on the comb there must be sickness or parasites.
Generally, it is to be foreseen that the population of a kingdom (especially if it be not mown down by wars) do not exceed the stock of the kingdom, which should maintain them.
So he sat down, and the fox began to run, and away they went over stock and stone so quick that their hair whistled in the wind.
It has become a pressing necessity for us to renew our stock of provisions, since we had to sacrifice nearly all the old lot.