Meaning of ROCK in English


I. rock 1 S2 W2 /rɒk $ rɑːk/ BrE AmE noun

[ Sense 1, 3-10: Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old North French ; Origin: roque , from Vulgar Latin rocca ]

[ Sense 2: Date: 1900-2000 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ rock 2 ]


a) [uncountable] the hard substance that forms the main surface of the Earth ⇨ stone :

To build the tunnel, they had to cut through 500 feet of solid rock.

Most of the country is desert and bare rock.

massive rock formations (=shapes made naturally from rock)

ancient dark volcanic rock

b) [countable] a piece of rock, especially a large one that sticks up from the ground:

Jack stood on a rock for a better view.

During the storm a ship had been driven onto the rocks (=a line of rocks under or next to the sea) .

2 . MUSIC [uncountable] ( also rock music ) a type of popular modern music with a strong loud beat, played using ↑ guitar s and drums

rock band/group

Komuro formed a rock band with some friends while in college.

the late rock star, Freddie Mercury

The stadium has hosted numerous rock concerts.

⇨ ↑ hard rock , ⇨ punk rock at ↑ punk (1)

3 . (as) solid/steady as a rock

a) very strongly built or well supported and not likely to break or fall:

a large sofa, solid as a rock

b) someone who is as solid or steady as a rock is very strong and calm in difficult situations and you can depend on them ⇨ ↑ rock-solid

4 . [singular] someone who always gives you support and who you can depend on:

My sister has always been my rock.

5 . be on the rocks informal a relationship or business that is on the rocks is having a lot of problems and is likely to fail soon SYN in trouble :

I’m afraid Tim’s marriage is on the rocks.

6 . scotch/vodka etc on the rocks informal an alcoholic drink that is served with ice but no water

7 . SWEET FOOD [uncountable] British English a hard sweet made in long round pieces:

a stick of rock

8 . DRUG

a) [uncountable] a very pure form of the illegal drug ↑ cocaine that some people use for pleasure

b) [countable] a small amount of this drug

9 . be (stuck) between a rock and a hard place to have a choice between two things, both of which are unpleasant or dangerous

10 . get your rocks off informal not polite if a man gets his rocks off, he has sex

11 . JEWEL [countable usually plural] old-fashioned informal a ↑ diamond or other jewel

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ solid rock

Steps had been carved out of the solid rock.

▪ bare rock (=not covered by soil)

Here there was only bare rock and gravel.

▪ volcanic rock

The fossils are sandwiched between two layers of volcanic rock.

▪ molten rock (=rock that is so hot it is liquid)

Molten rock flowed into these cracks.

■ rock + NOUN

▪ a rock formation

There are marvellous views of impressive rock formations.

■ verbs

▪ rock forms/is formed

From the texture of the rock we can tell how it was formed.

▪ something erodes rock (=it gradually removes the surface of the rock)

Rainwater drained away, forming streams and rivers that began to erode the rock.

▪ rock erodes (away) (=its surface is gradually removed because of the action of water, wind etc )

The rocks had eroded away over the years.

■ phrases

▪ a lump/piece of rock

His leg was trapped under a large lump of rock.

▪ a layer of rock

You can see six layers of rock in the cliff.

▪ an outcrop of rock (=a mass of rock that sticks up above the ground)

The gulls nested on a outcrop of rock.

• • •


▪ rock a piece of the hard substance that forms the main surface of the Earth. In British English, rocks are too large to pick up, but in American English, they can either be large or small:

the rocks along the riverbanks

▪ stone a small piece of rock, found on the ground or near the surface of the ground. Speakers of American English are more likely to use the word rock than stone :

The children were throwing stones into the water.

▪ boulder a large round piece of rock:

She climbed over a few boulders at the edge of the sea.

▪ pebble a small smooth stone found especially on a beach or on the bottom of a river:

The beach was covered with smooth white pebbles.

▪ fossil a rock which has the shape of an animal or plant that lived many thousands of years ago:

fossils of early reptiles

II. rock 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: roccian ]

1 . [intransitive and transitive] to move gently backwards and forwards or from side to side, or to make something do this ⇨ sway :

She covered her face, rocking to and fro in her grief.

The waves rocked the boat from side to side.

Paul sat gently rocking the child in his arms.

Jim rocked with laughter when he heard what had happened.

2 . [transitive]

a) to make the people in a place or organization feel very shocked – used in news reports SYN shake :

The scandal rocked the nation.

b) to make the future of something seem less certain or steady than it was before, especially because of problems or changes SYN shake :

Another financial blow has rocked the industry.

The theory rocked the foundations of social and moral life.

3 . rock the boat informal to cause problems for other members of a group by criticizing something or trying to change the way something is done:

He kept his feelings to himself, not wanting to rock the boat.

4 . [transitive] if an explosion or ↑ earthquake rocks an area, it makes it shake:

Residents had only a few minutes to escape before the blast rocked their houses.

5 . somebody/something rocks spoken informal said to show that you strongly approve of someone or something

6 . rock sb’s world informal to cause someone to think about something or someone in a completely new way

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