Meaning of BLOCK in English


I. block 1 S2 W2 /blɒk $ blɑːk/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ block , ↑ unblock , ↑ blockade ; noun : ↑ block , ↑ blockage , ↑ blockade ; adjective : blocked, unblocked]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: bloc , from Middle Dutch blok ]

1 . SOLID MATERIAL a piece of hard material such as wood or stone with straight sides ⇨ ↑ breeze-block , ↑ building block , ↑ cinder block

block of

a block of ice

a wall made of concrete blocks


a) American English the distance along a city street from where one street crosses it to the next:

Head for 44th Street, a few blocks east of Sixth Avenue.

The church is down the block.

b) the four city streets that form a square around an area of buildings:

Let’s walk round the block.

She grew up playing with the other kids on the block.

c) Australian English a large piece of land:

a ten-acre block near the city

3 . LARGE BUILDING a large building divided into separate parts

block of

a block of flats

an office block

an apartment block

the school science block

4 . QUANTITY OF THINGS a quantity of things of the same kind, considered as a single unit

block of

New employees receive a block of shares in the firm.

Set aside blocks of time for doing your homework.

5 . block booking/voting an arrangement that is made for a whole group to buy something or to vote together

6 . INABILITY TO THINK [usually singular] the temporary loss of your normal ability to think, learn, write etc:

I have a mental block whenever I try to remember my password.

After his second novel, Garland had writer’s block (=he could not write anything) .

7 . STOPPING MOVEMENT [usually singular] something that prevents movement or progress

block to

a major block to progress

⇨ ↑ roadblock , ↑ stumbling block

8 . PUNISHMENT the block in the past, a solid block of wood on which someone’s head was cut off as a punishment

9 . put your head/neck on the block to risk destroying other people’s opinion of you or losing your job by doing or saying something:

I’m not prepared to put my head on the block for him.

10 . SPORT a movement in sport that stops an opponent going forward or playing the ball forward

11 . SELL go on the block to be sold, especially at an ↑ auction :

$500 million worth of art will go on the block.

⇨ ↑ block capitals , ↑ tower block , ⇨ be a chip off the old block at ↑ chip 1 (7), ⇨ I’ll knock your block off at ↑ knock 1 (24)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ types of block

▪ a block of flats British English

Three new blocks of flats were built on the land.

▪ an apartment block

I met him at his apartment block in Manhattan.

▪ an office block

She works in a 27-storey office block.

▪ a tower block (=very high and usually in a poor area)

She lived on the 17th floor of a tower block in East London.

▪ a tenement block (=an apartment block, usually in a poor area - used especially in Scotland)

We had a tiny flat in an Edinburgh tenement block.

▪ a high-rise block (=very high)

The area is full of monstrous concrete high-rise blocks.

▪ a multi-storey block (=having many levels)

Many shops and offices have been rebuilt in high multi-storey blocks.

II. block 2 S3 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ block , ↑ unblock , ↑ blockade ; noun : ↑ block , ↑ blockage , ↑ blockade ; adjective : blocked, unblocked]

1 . ( also block up ) to prevent anything moving through a space by being or placing something across it or in it:

A fallen tree is blocking the road.

The sink’s blocked up.

2 . block sb’s way/path/exit/escape etc to stand in front of someone, so that they cannot go past:

I tried to get through, but there were people blocking my way.

3 . to stop something happening, developing, or succeeding:

The Senate blocked publication of the report.

laws designed to block imports of cheap tobacco

4 . block sb’s view to be in front of someone, so that they cannot see something:

The huge building across the street blocked our view of the sea.

5 . ( also block out ) to stop light reaching a place:

Can you move? You’re blocking my light.

6 . to stop a ball, a blow etc from getting to where your opponent wants it to:

a shot blocked by the goalkeeper

block somebody/something ↔ in phrasal verb

1 . to park your car too close to another car, so that the other one cannot drive away

2 . to paint or draw simple shapes or areas of colour:

I’ll just block in the main buildings.

block sth↔ off phrasal verb

to completely close something such as a road or an opening:

Police blocked off the city centre streets.

The fireplace had been blocked off.

block sth↔ out

1 . to stop light reaching a place:

There was a heavy curtain blocking out the light.

2 . to stop yourself thinking about something or remembering it:

a memory so terrible that she tried to block it out

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.