Shareholder vs. stockholder

Hi, someone once has told me that there are no ‘real’ synonyms, meaning that every word has a different meaning otherwise it wouldn’t exist in the first place. So what about shareholder and stockholder? What is the difference between both? What is the difference between share and stock anyway?

Hi Nicole,

Stock is capital of a company and is more often used in the plural stocks, which are a portion of that capital. Shares are also part of the capital of a company but are given/sold in fixed amounts. Stock(s) is the more general word and share(s) the more specific.

A stockholder would generally own a larger part of the capital than a shareholder.

If you go back to the first meaning of these two words: stock is the entirety of goods in a shop and if you want a particular item that’s not available, you would be told it is out of stock. The animals kept by a farmer would be called collectively livestock.
Share is often an equal part of something divided up among a group of people. The expression: fair shares for all is often used politically suggesting that everyone should get the same benefits from the state.


Hello Alan. Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation. It’s amazing how fast you respond and that this service is free. I really appreciate it.