• Block


    • RP IPA: /blÉ’k/
    • Rhymes: -É’k
    • GenAm IPA: /blÉ‘k/
    • Homophones: bloc


    From Middle English blok ("log, stump, solid piece"), from Old French bloc ("log, block"), from Middle Dutch blok ("treetrunk"), from Old Dutch *blok ("log"), from Proto-Germanic *blukką ("beam, log"), from Proto-Indo-European *bhulg'-, from *bhelg'- ("thick plank, beam, pile, prop"). Cognate with Old Frisian blok, Old Saxon blok, Old High German bloh, bloc (German Block, "block"), Old English bolca ("gangway of a ship, plank"), Old Norse bǫlkr (Norwegian bolk, "divider, partition"). More at balk.

    Full definition of block



    (plural blocks)
    1. A substantial, often approximately cuboid, piece of any substance.
      • Orwell Animal Farm|1You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within a year.
    2. A block of ice.A block of stone.Anne Boleyn placed her head on the block and awaited her execution.
    3. A group of urban lots of property, several acres in extent, not crossed by public streets.I'm going for a walk around the block.
    4. A residential building consisting of flats.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, The China Governess Chapter Foreword, He turned back to the scene before him and the enormous new block of council dwellings. The design was some way after Corbusier but the block was built up on plinths and resembled an Atlantic liner swimming diagonally across the site.
    5. A block of flats.
    6. The distance from one street to another in a city that is built (approximately) to a grid pattern.The place you are looking for is two long blocks east and one short block north.
    7. (slang) The human head.I'll knock your block off.
    8. A wig block: a simplified head model upon which wigs are worn.
      • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick,Next morning, Monday, after disposing of the embalmed head to a barber, for a block, I settled my own and comrade’s bill; using, however, my comrade’s money.
    9. A mould on which hats, bonnets, etc., are shaped.
      • ShakespeareHe wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the next block.
    10. A set of sheets (of paper) joined together at one end.A block of 100 tickets.
    11. (computing) A logical data storage unit containing one or more physical sectors (see cluster).
    12. (computing) A region of code in a program that acts as a single unit, such as a function or loop.
    13. (cryptography) A fixed-length group of bits making up part of a message.
    14. (rigging) A case with one or more sheaves/pulleys, used with ropes to increase or redirect force, for example, as part of the rigging of a sailing ship.
    15. (chemistry) A portion of a macromolecule, comprising many units, that has at least one feature not present in adjacent portions.
    16. Something that prevents something from passing (see blockage).There's a block in the pipe that means the water can't get through.
    17. (sports) An action to interfere with the movement of an opposing player or of the object of play (ball, puck).
      • 2011, February 12, Oliver Brett, Sunderland 1–2 Tottenham, The match proved an unedifying spectacle until Spurs won a corner following their first move of real quality, John Mensah making an important block with Jermain Defoe poised to strike.
    18. (cricket) A shot played by holding the bat vertically in the path of the ball, so that it loses momentum and drops to the ground.
    19. (volleyball) A defensive play by one or more players meant to deflect a spiked ball back to the hitter’s court.
    20. (philately) A joined group of four (or in some cases nine) postage stamps, forming a roughly square shape.
    21. A section of split logs used as fuel.
    22. (UK) Solitary confinement.
    23. A cellblock.
    24. (falconry) The perch on which a bird of prey is kept.
    25. (printing, dated) A piece of hard wood on which a stereotype or electrotype plate is mounted.
    26. (obsolete) A blockhead; a stupid fellow; a dolt.
      • ShakespeareWhat a block art thou!
    27. A section of a railroad where the block system is used.
    28. Misspelling of bloc


    Related terms



    1. (transitive) To fill (something) so that it is not possible to pass.The pipe is blocked.
    2. (transitive) To prevent (something or someone) from passing.You're blocking the road – I can't get through.
    3. (transitive) To prevent (something from happening or someone from doing something).His plan to take over the business was blocked by the boss.
    4. (transitive, sports) To impede an opponent.He blocked the basketball player's shot.The offensive linemen tried to block the blitz.
    5. (transitive, theater) To specify the positions and movements of the actors.It was very difficult to block this scene convincingly.
    6. (transitive, cricket) To hit with a block.
    7. (intransitive, cricket) To play a block shot.
    8. (transitive) To disable communication via telephone, instant messaging, etc., with an undesirable someone.I tried to send you a message, but you've blocked me!
    9. (computing, intransitive) To wait.When the condition expression is false, the thread blocks on the condition variable.
    10. (transitive) To stretch or mould (a knitted item, a hat, etc.) into the desired shape.I blocked the mittens by wetting them and pinning them to a shaped piece of cardboard.

    Related terms

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