Definition of block in English:

block

Line breaks: block
Pronunciation: /blɒk
 
/

noun

1A large solid piece of hard material, especially rock, stone, or wood, typically with flat surfaces on each side: a block of marble
More example sentences
  • Other materials for terraces include bricks, rocks, concrete blocks, and similar masonry materials.
  • There, as it had been during his initial inspection, was a stone block wall just as solid as any other in the castle.
  • You're going to need a paved surface, concrete blocks, Tarmac even, so the delivery vehicles can get to the shops by the river.
1.1A sturdy flat-topped piece of wood used as a work surface: a chopping block
More example sentences
  • She took out a large knife from the cutting block and sliced a piece of cheese, promptly eating one.
  • Extracting a block of wood and a knife he held it up to her from his seat on the floor.
1.2A packaged rectangular portion of butter, ice cream, chocolate, etc. a family block of ice cream
More example sentences
  • It is made by placing a well-chilled block of ice cream on a base of sponge cake, masking it with uncooked meringue, and then baking it in a hot oven.
  • They couldn't have been simpler, just a block of vanilla ice cream in a glass and then fill with either coke or lemonade.
  • The easiest way to shape thin chocolate curls is to shave them directly from a block of chocolate, using a swivel vegetable peeler or sharp knife.
1.3chiefly British A set of sheets of paper glued along one edge, used for drawing or writing on: a sketching block
More example sentences
  • The blocks of paper demolished the wall that was being repaired by builder David Gott after they were flung from the vehicle on the sharp corner bend approaching Keighley Road from Colne.
  • A large conference table and whiteboard occupied one side of the room; the other side was filled with desks, notebooks and drawing blocks.
  • if you want to make good watercolor sketches, pick up a block<(em> of watercolor paper in some portable size.
Synonyms
1.4 (usually blocks) A starting block: Jackson jetted out of his blocks
More example sentences
  • I'm trying to focus and not to false start, fall at the line or basically walk instead of run out of the blocks as I sometimes do because any of these things could happen.
  • She blasted out of the blocks and immediately established her dominance over the other runners.
  • We were slow out of the blocks against Italy but we expected a difficult game anyway in Rome.
1.5 Printing A piece of wood or metal engraved for printing on paper or fabric: the art of colour printing from woodblocks
More example sentences
  • He has a predilection for wallpaper and wrapping paper, to which he applies repetitive motifs using stamps made from cut and engraved blocks of wood dipped in printer's ink or paint.
  • The printing blocks are made of wood, metal and other materials.
  • The goal is to provide practical experience about block printing and registration of blocks.
1.6 (also cylinder block or engine block) A large metal moulding containing the cylinders of an internal-combustion engine.
More example sentences
  • The engine block and cylinder head are made of cast aluminium.
  • Descending the reef again, I came across the engine block and crankshaft.
  • You need a piston, a manifold, then you need an engine block, a carburetor, a distributer, this that and the other thing.
1.7A head-shaped mould for shaping hats or wigs.
2British A large single building subdivided into separate rooms, flats, or offices: a block of flats
More example sentences
  • The church still stands, now surrounded by office buildings and blocks of flats, and looking rather small among its neighbours.
  • There must be some residential development in the area but we don't want blocks of flats or offices.
  • A five-storey block incorporating offices and flats will now go ahead following the decision by councillors last week.
Synonyms
building, complex, structure, development
2.1A building or part of a complex used for a particular purpose: a shower block
More example sentences
  • The completion of the science block is not the end of developments at the School.
  • But the school burned down and many classrooms and hostel blocks were completely destroyed.
  • A women's centre and an urban prayer garden complete the Cathedral block.
2.2A group of buildings bounded by four streets: she went for a run round the block
More example sentences
  • Round the block is Molesworth Street, home to a number of art establishments.
  • It was parked at the end of the street and he drove it round the block, intending to park it outside his house, but was stopped on the way.
  • I've been up the street, around the block, into the store and home again.
2.3North American Any urban or suburban area bounded by four streets: ours was the ugliest house on the block
More example sentences
  • At the same time in DC, three intimidating looking black guys pulled up in front of a big house on a tree-lined block in a suburban neighborhood.
  • The Trust owns about 70 percent of four blocks in that area.
  • Regular maintenance of the street ended after three blocks and the area beyond looked rougher.
2.4North American The length of one side of a block, especially as a measure of distance: he lives a few blocks away from the museum
More example sentences
  • I would never backpack or turn a somersault or jump to the ground from even the most modest height or run the length of half a block.
  • Interior hallways run nearly the length of a city block, and could have resembled an endless, generic motel corridor.
  • Although the distance to the pool was only about the length of a short block, my feet felt as though they were about to fall off because they were so cold.
3A large quantity or allocation of things regarded as a unit: a block of shares final examinations will be taken in a block at the end of the course
More example sentences
  • Braille music uses the same system of raised dots on paper as standard Braille, with the top four dots in a block of six giving the note and the bottom two indicating its duration.
  • A block of 55,500 Petrol shares was sold at 14.31 and another 129,500 shares at 14.32.
  • The therapy involves undertaking six-week blocks of different exercises, spread over a year, with the aim of stimulating a part of the brain called the cerebellum.
Synonyms
batch, group, cluster, set, section, quantity, series
3.1 Computing A large piece of text processed as a unit.
More example sentences
  • When speaking about hypertext, it refers specifically to blocks of text connected by hyperlinks.
  • Maybe you type the same blocks of text into your email messages thirty times a day.
  • Text messaging, which allows blocks of text up to 160 characters long to be sent, has been a huge success with 50 million being sent in Britain alone every day.
4An obstacle to the normal progress or functioning of something: substantial demands for time off may constitute a block to career advancement an emotional block
More example sentences
  • Secondly a whole set of conditions have been placed on the developing world, many of which have been seen by campaigners and the nations themselves, as a block to necessary progress.
  • If you break the rules of existence, there's usually a block to progress until you have connected things.
  • A high-profile civil case would mean lurid newspaper headlines and act as a block to any possibility of restarting a television career.
Synonyms
4.1An act of blocking someone or something: Marshall’s shot drew a fine block from the goalkeeper
More example sentences
  • This also limits his ability to make downfield blocks on linebackers.
  • Moss, meanwhile, began running out every pattern, even when he was a decoy, and he started throwing blocks downfield.
  • Dilger doesn't hesitate to sell out on a block downfield or on the line.
4.2A chock for stopping the motion of a wheel.
More example sentences
  • Make sure you have a jack that will lift the trailer (with horses inside) or a wheel block to pull one trailer tire onto to get the other one off the ground.
4.3 (also blockhole) Cricket The spot on which a batsman rests the end of the bat while waiting to receive a ball.
More example sentences
  • He picked up four late wickets by virtue of keeping the ball up in the blockhole.
  • Exactly half of his deliveries were on a good length, and while he banged 18 in short, another 11 were pitched well up in the blockhole.
  • He misses, the ball lands in the block hole, and makes contact with the pads.
5A flat area of something, especially a solid area of colour: cover the eyelid with a neutral block of colour
More example sentences
  • It would look silly to draw the character as is; the background would be drawn too, and the character would be surrounded by a block of solid color.
  • Women don't want a block of colour, especially not black after all this mourning.
  • Turquoise with bright color blocks of red and yellow.
5.1Australian /NZ historical An area of land, in particular a tract offered to an individual settler by a government.
More example sentences
  • That feature is linked to the original development of the irrigation areas with smallholder fruit blocks for soldier settlers and, later, new immigrants.
  • There were also many blocks of land listed in Adelaide and country towns as well as cattle, sheep and farming implements.
  • His scheme collapsed and he and his family settled on a block of land south west of Clare.
5.2Australian An urban or suburban building plot.
More example sentences
  • It had 432 allotments of a quarter acre each and 88 suburban blocks ranging in size from five to eleven acres.
  • If we wander in here, see I suppose this area here is probably only about as big as a couple of suburban blocks of land.
  • The business was being used to sell country homes and blocks of land throughout New South Wales.
6A pulley or system of pulleys mounted in a case: a simple pulley block
More example sentences
  • It was here that he was awarded £17,000 by the government for the patent of his mechanical ships blocks.
  • It is a hoist for lifting appliances, and more specifically a block-and-pulley arrangement, or a block-and-tackle arrangement.
  • A block which moves downward is attached to a string which is wrapped around the pulley.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Make the movement or flow in (a passage, pipe, road, etc.) difficult or impossible: block up the holes with sticky tape the narrow roads were blocked by cars (as adjective blocked) a blocked nose
More example sentences
  • The road was blocked off and the 93 bus couldn't get through, so I caught another one which took me all around the houses, but it was still stuck in traffic.
  • Emergency services were called and the road was blocked off.
  • Major roads were blocked off, threatening huge traffic disruption.
Synonyms
1.1Put an obstacle in the way of (something proposed or attempted): he stood up, blocking her escape the government tried to block an agreement on farm subsidies
More example sentences
  • Fortunately I think our firewall had been blocking the access attempts, but the popup ads were still happening.
  • But this Council finds the idea distasteful and is blocking every attempt to find a suitable location.
  • Can you blame the Senate blocking his half-baked attempts at policy formulation?
Synonyms
1.2Prevent access to or the use of (email or a website or mobile phone): some companies use these IMEI numbers to block stolen phones
More example sentences
  • The idea of blocking access where someone is using a lot of bandwidth just doesn't work.
  • It was a matter of blocking the critical political web sites.
  • If requested by police it can block telephone numbers to stop someone calling out, including texting.
1.3Restrict the use or conversion of (currency or any other asset).
More example sentences
  • The U.S. has rallied 120 nations to block assets of suspected terrorist groups.
  • In his evidence, he said that if the acquisition was blocked, it would have been a waste of a ‘tremendous amount of time and energy’.
  • This has been blamed for blocking overseas-bound investment by mainland enterprises.
1.4 American Football Impede the progress of (a tackler) with one’s body.
More example sentences
  • On passes, the offense relies on tight ends to block linebackers and sometimes defensive ends.
  • He suffered the injury when he was blocked low on a screen pass.
  • Supposedly he managed to retain his agility as he put on weight, which should help him in pulling and getting out to block linebackers.
1.5(In sport) stop (a ball or blow) from finding its mark: Knight did well to block Soloman’s shot
More example sentences
  • He brought his stave up and I quickly dropped my left hand, dealing him a one-handed blow on the side off his arm before bringing my own stave up to block his blow.
  • Every single one of his intended blows was blocked and parried, even when the man tripped and fell backwards.
  • Two shots were blocked but the ball eventually fell to Chambers who slotted it into the far corner.
Synonyms
parry, stop, defend against, fend off, stave off, turn aside, deflect, hold off, avert, repel, rebuff, repulse, hold/keep at bay
1.6 Cricket Stop (a ball) with the bat defensively.
More example sentences
  • He was unable to pierce the field and his method of blocking the ball with soft hands close to the wickets to pinch quick singles just didn't work.
  • And with the Aussie bowling around the wicket into the rough, he is content to let the ball hit his front pad and block the over out.
  • He declined to play attacking shots for the best part of his stay at the crease, not even looking to score, and instead blocked, padded up or left the ball alone.
1.7 Bridge Play in such a way that opponents are prevented from establishing (a long suit).
More example sentences
  • A common mistake by beginners is that when your best suit proves to be blocked by the opponent to switch and try each other suit in turn.
  • Often, however, you cannot take the discard pile because you are blocked by a black three discarded by your right hand opponent.
  • They also block the discard pile for the opponents when discarded.
2Impress text or a design on (a book cover).
More example sentences
  • Original blue cloth, spine lettered and blocked in gold.
  • Original pale green linen, blocked in an orange-red and black pictorial design on the upper cover.
3Shape or reshape (a hat) on a mould: nobody cleans and blocks old felt hats any more
More example sentences
  • He is well cast and carries the part like a well blocked hat, (though his own hat sometimes got the better of him).
  • It's going to need a pretty firm hand to block it to shape.

Origin

Middle English (denoting a log or tree stump): from Old French bloc (noun), bloquer (verb), from Middle Dutch blok, of unknown ultimate origin.

Phrases

have been around the block (a few times)

North American informal (Of a person) have a lot of experience.
More example sentences
  • We add an element of showbiz that probably comes from my experience of being in bands and having been around the block a few times.
  • Hey, it's all about experience, really, and he's been around the block a few times.
  • Many new breakthrough artists flung into the scene providing steady competition for the bands that have been around the block and back.

the new kid on the block

informal A newcomer to a particular place or sphere of activity: what can the new kid on the block learn from the earlier Democrat’s mistakes?
More example sentences
  • We're the new kids on the block in the central belt, which has brought a surge of interest among potential recruits.
  • India and China, he says, are the new kids on the block and will outperform the rest of the world because they have whole-heartedly absorbed the new mantra of globalisation.
  • ‘They are the new kids on the block and could veto this constitution before they even become a member of the union,’ said one diplomat.

on the (auction) block

For sale at auction: the original first manuscript for Ravel’s Bolero goes on the block today
More example sentences
  • The studio is placing props from the film on the block at their online auction house.
  • At the same time, some of his designs are on the block at an auction in Chicago.
  • The services of the celebrity painter commanded two winning bids of $25,000 to top a series of unique experiences offered on the auction block.

put (or lay) one's head (or neck) on the block

informal Put one’s standing or reputation at risk by proceeding with a particular course of action: it’s not in your nature to put your head on the block
[with reference to an executioner's block]
More example sentences
  • Councillors often have to make difficult decisions, often putting their head on the block.
  • If it's not, I will be putting my head on the block again.
  • But I'd have to to be totally sure that I was on to a winner before putting my head on the block - watched by half the world.

Phrasal verbs

block something in

1Paint something with solid areas of colour: the sunflowers are blocked in with yellow
More example sentences
  • I blocked in my background colour with a nice aqua green.
  • When you look at her pastels there seems to be a painterly quality almost completely lacking from her earlier paintings which are either coloured sketches or blocked in areas of flat colour.
  • It starts with a ‘poster study’ of blocked-in areas of color
1.1Add something in a unit: it’s a good idea to block in regular periods of exercise
More example sentences
  • It is strongly recommended that trainees be prepared to block in a 24-week period and make the training a top priority in order to receive maximum benefit from the training.
  • Within your schedule, don’t forget to block in time for meals and rest.
  • She now starts every week by blocking in time for. these priorities first, no matter how busy she feels.
1.2Mark something out roughly: I often start with no preliminary line but go straight in, blocking in the face and body
More example sentences
  • I've learned it's best to roughly block everything in first so you can see where everything is going as a whole.
  • I start off by blocking in large shapes, value, and color.
2Park one’s car in such a way as to prevent another car from moving away: he blocked in Vera’s Mini
More example sentences
  • However, as there is such pressure on parking here, many use our car park without permission with the consequence that funerals and weddings can be blocked in.
  • I would ask drivers how they would feel if they were prevented from going to work, doing their shopping or visiting friends by cars parked across their drive or blocking their car in the street.
  • Eastwood Park has an entrance at the end of Park Avenue and cars have been parking along the small road, obstructing access and blocking residents in.

block something out

1Stop something such as light or noise from reaching somewhere: you’re blocking out my sun
More example sentences
  • I groaned, grabbing my pillow and placing it over my ears, blocking all noise out.
  • I usually just block such noises out because in the city there's always some lunatic running around shouting things but for some reason I ran to the cry for help.
  • Tony is talking, while Davy is trying to block the noise out with his pillow.
1.1Exclude something unpleasant from one’s thoughts or memory: they had managed to block out incidents from long ago
More example sentences
  • Maybe we're just blocking it out like a bad memory or premonition.
  • I sighed, wondering why I had chosen to block the memories out in the first place.
  • He tried to block those memories out, but he couldn't in his nearly unconscious state.
Synonyms
conceal, hide, screen, keep out, blot out, exclude;
eliminate, obliterate, eradicate, erase, rub out, wipe out, blank out, efface, remove all traces of;
halt, stop, deny, suppress, repress
2Mark or sketch something out roughly: I would block out an area and sketch in the detail
More example sentences
  • Sometimes, I'll start right on the computer and then have to slow down and block things out on paper to sort things out.
  • I write it down on my steno pad when the idea comes to me, and more or less block it out on paper first.
  • I designed it by blocking it out on a ‘clean sheet’ using an architect's program.
Synonyms
rough (out), sketch out, trace out, outline, set out, lay out, delineate, draft

Derivatives

blocky

adjective (blockier, blockiest)
More example sentences
  • When I first saw them, I remembered that on our first date she had worn blocky black sneakers which I couldn't help but find sexy.
  • The tight wire mesh seems out of synch with the blocky wood décor typical of state parks, and I am puzzled by its impenetrability.
  • From behind blocky horn-rimmed glasses he blinked out at the world like a perpetually startled and slightly confused owl.

Definition of block in: