When you want to cover your legs, whether with socks or tights, what you need is hosiery. Shopping for stockings? Just ask the salesclerk, "Which way is the hosiery department?"

Hosiery is a fairly old-fashioned word for socks and stockings as a group. You'll still see it in some department stores that have an entire section dedicated to foot- and leg-covering garments, although sometimes it's called "legwear." Hosiery comes from an even more old-fashioned word, hosier, "maker or seller of hose."

Definitions of hosiery

n socks and stockings and tights collectively (the British include underwear)

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hosiery consisting of a cloth covering for the foot; worn inside the shoe; reaches to between the ankle and the knee
close-fitting hosiery to cover the foot and leg; come in matched pairs (usually used in the plural)
leotards, tights
skintight knit hose covering the body from the waist to the feet worn by acrobats and dancers and as stockings by women and girls
anklet, anklets, bobbysock, bobbysocks
a sock that reaches just above the ankle
argyle, argyll
a sock knitted or woven with an argyle design (usually used in the plural)
athletic sock, sweat sock, varsity sock
a sock worn for athletic events
protective stockings worn with or in place of boots
Christmas stocking
a stocking that is filled with small Christmas presents
knee-hi, knee-high
a sock or stocking that reaches up to just below the knees
tights for dancers or gymnasts
nylon stocking, nylons, rayon stocking, rayons, silk stocking
women's stockings made from a sheer material (nylon or rayon or silk)
a woman's tights consisting of underpants and stockings
support hose, support stocking
elasticized stocking intended to reduce pressure on the veins of the leg (as in case of varicose veins)
tabi, tabis
a sock with a separation for the big toe; worn with thong sandals by the Japanese
Type of:
clothing worn on a person's feet

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