There are 2 main definitions of rock in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

rock1

Syllabification: rock
Pronunciation: /räk
 
/

noun

1The solid mineral material forming part of the surface of the earth and other similar planets, exposed on the surface or underlying the soil or oceans.
Example sentences
  • Groundwater will contain the minerals dissolved as the water moves through soil and rock materials.
  • Sulfates are a combination of sulfur and oxygen and are a part of naturally occurring minerals in some soil and rock formations that contain groundwater.
  • Lighter than the surrounding solid rock, this liquid magma rises, cools, and crystallizes beneath Earth's surface.
1.1A mass of rock projecting above the earth’s surface or out of the sea: there are dangerous rocks around the island
More example sentences
  • Of course they have to break out of jail, and the posse who is hot on their tail gets turned back by a sniper in the rocks above.
  • At the centre of the building is a courtyard; in fact, the original patch of trees, rocks and earth that was here from the very start.
  • More than half of Mandela's sentence was spent on Robben Island, a windswept rock surrounded by the treacherous seas of the Cape of Good Hope.
Synonyms
1.2 Geology Any natural material, hard or soft (e.g., clay), having a distinctive mineral composition.
Example sentences
  • A main types of mineral phosphate, soft rock phosphate comes mostly from ancient sea deposits.
  • Karst landscapes are developed wherever soluble carbonate rocks outcrop and where surplus rainfall is available to dissolve the limestone.
  • The cave offers an in-depth view of the immense layers of limestone rock formed by the sedimented shells.
1.3 (the Rock) Gibraltar.
1.4 (the Rock) informal name for Newfoundland1.
2A large piece of rock that has become detached from a cliff or mountain; a boulder: the stream flowed through a jumble of rocks
More example sentences
  • Should he have intervened, therefore preventing David's death, or did he do the right thing by just staying behind the rocks?
  • He lies on a rock, a mountain looming above him and his naked body partially covered by a white dress.
  • It was so clearly identifiable as his work from the outset that I kept expecting either Ricardo Montalban or Kate Winslet to pop out from behind a rock.
2.1North American A stone of any size, especially one small enough to be picked up and used as a projectile.
Example sentences
  • Tiger also faced abuse at the hands of grade school classmates, who once even tied him to a tree and threw rocks at him.
  • The film has one of cinema's most beautiful uses of an open exterior, when the husband throws a rock towards the nuclear plant just after dusk.
  • If you must ripple the pond, throw a small rock first and pay careful attention.
Synonyms
2.2British A kind of hard confectionery in the form of cylindrical peppermint-flavored sticks.
2.3 informal A precious stone, especially a diamond.
Example sentences
  • It's like a trip through a jewelry store that sells nothing but pricey diamond rings with big rocks.
  • Instead of working with flashy, expensive rocks, he preferred to use semiprecious stones - and his wits.
Synonyms
2.4 informal A small piece of crack cocaine.
2.5 (rocks) vulgar slang Testicles.
3Used in similes and metaphors to refer to someone or something that is extremely strong, reliable, or hard: imagining himself as the last rock of civilization being swept over by a wave of barbarism
More example sentences
  • Mia really has become the rock in this world, his key to becoming a better man.
  • It was only sprung on us in the sense that at any point, we could have said ‘no’ and faced the rock that was our boss.
Synonyms
foundation, cornerstone, support, prop, mainstay;
tower of strength, bulwark, anchor
3.1 (usually rocks) (Especially with allusion to shipwrecks) a source of danger or destruction: the new system is heading for the rocks
More example sentences
  • While his willingness to explore the darker side of marriage makes his movie more perceptive than many others, the film loses its way when love hits the rocks.
4 (rocks) US informal , dated Money.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French rocque, from medieval Latin rocca, of unknown ultimate origin.

More
  • The hard rock that makes up much of the earth came into medieval English from Old French rocque, which can be traced back to medieval Latin rocca but no further. The classical Latin word was petra, the source of petrify. People have been caught between a rock and a hard place since the 1920s, first of all in Arizona and California. Also American is on the rocks meaning a drink ‘on ice’, first recorded in 1946, while the slang term for a precious stone is 1920s. In France the modern form of the word, roc developed the form rocaille to describe the decoration using shells and pebbles fashionable in the 18th century. In the 19th century this was changed by French workmen to rococo, originally to mean something old-fashioned, but now used to describe the art of the 18th century. Rock meaning ‘to move to and fro’ is an Old English word. Rock music was originally rock and roll, which is first found in 1951, although a song called ‘Rock and Roll’ came out in 1934. Rock and roll combined black rhythm and blues and white country or ‘hillbilly’ music. Elvis Presley's first single, ‘That's All Right Mama’ and Bill Haley's ‘Rock Around the Clock’, both released in 1954, are often considered the first rock and roll records, but similar-sounding music was produced in the 1930s and 1940s by black performers like Big Joe Turner and Fats Domino.

    If you are off your rocker you are mad or crazy. A rocker here is a curved piece of wood or metal placed under a chair or cradle so that it can rock backwards and forwards. In the early 1960s rockers were also youths who liked rock music, leather clothing, and motorcycles, and were the sworn enemies of the mods (short for modernists), who were noted for their smart appearance, motor scooters, and fondness for soul music.

Phrases

between a rock and a hard place

1
informal In a situation where one is faced with two equally difficult alternatives.
Example sentences
  • The army chief is certainly caught between a rock and a hard place.
  • With the mayor and the police force all breathing down Harry's neck, Harry finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
  • Rex to Miles: ‘My wife has me between a rock and a hard place.’

get one's rocks off

2
vulgar slang Have an orgasm.
2.1Obtain pleasure or satisfaction.
Example sentences
  • I am sure that he is getting his rocks off over the fact that people are discussing him - no matter how derisive the comments might be.
  • This is totally the kind of art that gets my rocks off.
  • Given that graphic design is a wholly commercial field, how do arty people get their rocks off and feel subversive even while selling their skills to companies and corporations?

on the rocks

3
informal
1(Of a relationship or enterprise) experiencing difficulties and likely to fail.
Example sentences
  • My relationship has been on the rocks ever since my boyfriend left our ballet company to join a dance troupe in another state.
  • His relationship with Sissy on the rocks, Bud takes to practicing bull riding.
  • Feigning being in love and making googly eyes isn't too much of a challenge; convincingly portraying a long-time couple whose relationship is on the rocks is the tough part.
Synonyms
in difficulty, in trouble, breaking up, over;
in tatters, in ruins, ruined
2(Of a drink) served undiluted and with ice cubes.
Example sentences
  • He starts smoking an exclusive brand of cigarette and drinking single malt whisky on the rocks.
  • When not ‘landing’ a big client, she cares for her aging father, and sexes it up with her fiancé, who looks like he drinks Vitalis on the rocks.
  • My favorite drink is malt scotch, either on the rocks or with a splash of soda and a twist.
Synonyms
with ice, on ice, over ice

Derivatives

rockless

1
adjective

rocklike

2
adjective
Example sentences
  • Thus, you will be confined to somewhat small areas on which you can construct your base, generally represented by a hard red rock-like surface.
  • Rock wool loose-fill insulation is similar to fiberglass except that it is spun from blast furnace slag and other rock-like materials instead of molten glass.
  • Even a rock-like drop in the dollar during the last two quarters of 2003 has brought no relief from chronically high US trade and current account deficits.

Definition of rock in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

There are 2 main definitions of rock in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

rock2

Syllabification: rock
Pronunciation: /räk
 
/

verb

1Move gently to and fro or from side to side: [with object]: she rocked the baby in her arms [no object]: the vase rocked back and forth on its base (as adjective rocking) the rocking movement of the boat
More example sentences
  • I think I spent a week in a row rocking him to sleep, just speaking it over.
  • She rocked herself to and fro, and the tears gathered in her eyes and slowly trickled down her cheeks.
  • He rocked his body at the mike, rolled his eyes, pulled back his lips in elegant disdain, and finished each sentence with a sensual guttural trail.
Synonyms
move to and fro, move back and forth, sway, seesaw;
roll, pitch, plunge, toss, lurch, reel, list;
wobble, oscillate
1.1(With reference to a building or region) shake or cause to shake or vibrate, especially because of an impact, earthquake, or explosion: [with object]: another blast rocked the ship and threw him from his chair [no object]: the building began to rock on its foundations
More example sentences
  • He is awake in the middle of the night and he feels as if the hotel is being rocked by an earthquake.
  • An explosion rocks downtown London and shuts down the city.
  • Both films take place in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that rocked northern Iran in 1990, killing nearly 50,000 people.
Synonyms
1.2 [with object] Cause great shock or distress to (someone or something), especially so as to weaken or destabilize them or it: diplomatic upheavals that rocked the British Empire
More example sentences
  • This incident rocked the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
  • When tumultuous events rocked the world he soon forgot her.
  • Corporate scandals have recently rocked the business world, shocked shareholders and the public at large, and led to the downfall of several large-scale firms.
Synonyms
stun, shock, stagger, astonish, startle, surprise, shake, shake up, take aback, throw, unnerve, disconcert
2 [no object] informal Dance to or play rock music.
Example sentences
  • While my musical strength may be in the Classical realm, I also know that Little Richard really rocked in his day.
  • In this case, the screen was bigger, the score was louder and the crowd was rocking.
  • If the crowd is not rocking to this one beat, you gotta get it out and get the next record in.
2.1(Of a place) have an atmosphere of excitement or much social activity: the new town really rocks (as adjective rocking) a rocking resort
3 [with object] informal Wear (a garment) or affect (an attitude or style), especially in a confident or flamboyant way: she was rocking a clingy little leopard-skin number

noun

Back to top  
1Rock music: [as modifier]: a rock star
More example sentences
  • My dad had booked a special reunion concert by 80s rock legends, Dire Straits.
  • We were all squealing like kids at a rock concert.
  • He had organised a rock concert to coincide with one of the city's major sporting events.
1.1Rock and roll.
Example sentences
  • It is a film for everyone, both those who were touched by this era of rock and those who just remember that fleeting second when the world didn't slow down.
  • It made me want to run out and start a rockabilly band to pay tribute to rock's greatest geek.
2 [in singular] A gentle movement to and fro or from side to side: she placed the baby in the cradle and gave it a rock

Origin

late Old English roccian, probably from a Germanic base meaning 'remove, move'; related to Dutch rukken 'jerk, tug' and German rücken 'move'. The noun dates from the early 19th century.

More
  • The hard rock that makes up much of the earth came into medieval English from Old French rocque, which can be traced back to medieval Latin rocca but no further. The classical Latin word was petra, the source of petrify. People have been caught between a rock and a hard place since the 1920s, first of all in Arizona and California. Also American is on the rocks meaning a drink ‘on ice’, first recorded in 1946, while the slang term for a precious stone is 1920s. In France the modern form of the word, roc developed the form rocaille to describe the decoration using shells and pebbles fashionable in the 18th century. In the 19th century this was changed by French workmen to rococo, originally to mean something old-fashioned, but now used to describe the art of the 18th century. Rock meaning ‘to move to and fro’ is an Old English word. Rock music was originally rock and roll, which is first found in 1951, although a song called ‘Rock and Roll’ came out in 1934. Rock and roll combined black rhythm and blues and white country or ‘hillbilly’ music. Elvis Presley's first single, ‘That's All Right Mama’ and Bill Haley's ‘Rock Around the Clock’, both released in 1954, are often considered the first rock and roll records, but similar-sounding music was produced in the 1930s and 1940s by black performers like Big Joe Turner and Fats Domino.

    If you are off your rocker you are mad or crazy. A rocker here is a curved piece of wood or metal placed under a chair or cradle so that it can rock backwards and forwards. In the early 1960s rockers were also youths who liked rock music, leather clothing, and motorcycles, and were the sworn enemies of the mods (short for modernists), who were noted for their smart appearance, motor scooters, and fondness for soul music.

Phrases

rock the boat

1
see boat.

Phrasal verbs

rock out

1
informal Perform rock music loudly and vigorously.
Example sentences
  • The Canadian guitar god should have been dressed in a schoolboy uniform as he rocked out like AC/DC throughout the performance.
  • With just a square black stage and some colourful lights, it almost felt like the group were rocking out at their local bar - except for the thousands of screaming hordes.
  • When they aren't rocking out, the band do what they can to encourage their fans to become politically aware and get out to the voting polls.

Definition of rock in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.