Meaning of BLOCK in English

I. ˈbläk noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English blok, from Middle French bloc, from Middle Dutch blok; akin to Old High German bloh block, Middle Irish blog fragment, and perhaps to Old High German bliuwan to beat — more at blow (stroke)

1. : a compact usually solid piece of substantial material (as wood, stone, or metal)

a fine block of marble

especially : one worked or altered from its natural or rough state to serve a particular purpose: as

a. : a bulky piece of strong hard wood usually having the upper surface dressed and serving as a base on which some operation (as the cutting of firewood) is performed: as

(1) : such a block on which a butcher cuts meat

(2) : the piece of wood on which a person condemned to be beheaded lays his neck for execution

b. : a mold or form upon which articles or materials are shaped or displayed: as

(1) : a wooden form upon which hats are shaped ; also : the pattern or style of a hat

(2) : a hollow wooden or metal device in which a gather of glass is shaped

(3) : a cast or turned plaster form around which plaster is cast to make a potter's mold

c. : horse block

d. : a piece of stone or other natural or artificial composition dressed or formed usually to uniform size for use as a structural unit

paving blocks

especially : a hollow rectangular building unit of terracotta, concrete, glass, burned clay, or gypsum — compare brick , tile

e. : block coal

f. : a piece of solid material used to strengthen, support, or retain in position: as

(1) : chock 1

put a block behind the rear wheel

(2) : a piece of wood or other material glued into an interior angle to strengthen a joint

(3) : a support placed behind a wainscot to hold it out from the wall

(4) : breechblock

(5) : spring block

(6) : brake block

(7) : one of the supports on which the keel of a ship is laid

(8) : a rectangular prism of wood placed to support a vessel in dry dock (as under its keel or under any stiffened part between keel and turn of the bilge)

g. : a percussion musical instrument consisting of a hollow slotted block of wood played usually with a drumstick — called also wood block

h. : a cylinder that revolves drawing an attached wire through a die and coiling it

i. : a lightweight usually cubical and solid wooden or plastic toy that is typically decorated on each face with a letter or picture and is usually provided in sets permitting varied arrangement and building activities — called also building block

j. : the casting that contains the cylinders of an internal-combustion engine — called also cylinder block

2. : something (as a person or a body part) suggesting or likened to a piece of wood:

a. : a stupid doltish person

b. : a harsh inconsiderate hard-hearted person

c. now slang : head 1

knock his block off

d. : a dressed and trimmed carcass (as of beef)

3. : an obstruction or cause of obstruction : stumbling block , hindrance , obstacle , stop , check , impediment : as

a. : something interfering with free passage (as a military roadblock or a traffic jam)

b. : any of several kinds of or procedures for interference (as with other contestants or players) in sports:

(1) : the obstruction with the hand or arm of a punch in boxing

(2) : block ball

(3) : the checking of a player in football by use of one's body especially to keep him out of the path of the ball carrier

a rolling block

a shoulder block

(4) : guard 5b

(5) : blockhole

c. : a situation in various card and other games (as checkers or dominoes) in which no player can make a further legal move and which in most games results in a draw but in checkers wins the game for the player making the last move

d. : interruption of normal physiological function of a tissue or organ (as by fatigue or the presence of a chemically abnormal environment)

respiratory block due to carbon monoxide

mucosal block may accompany certain gastrointestinal disorders

especially : heart block


(1) : block anesthesia

(2) : nerve block

f. : an instance or the result of psychological blockage or blocking

g. : diapause

4. : a base, platform, or supporting frame:

a. : a wooden or metal case enclosing one or more pulleys, provided with a hook, eye, or strap by which it may be attached to an object, and used to change the direction of motion of the object or, when two or more pulleys are compounded, to change the rate of motion or exert increased force

b. : a platform from which slaves or other property are displayed for sale at auction ; broadly : sale at auction — used chiefly with on

c. : a permanent base for mounting a device or machine (as for exhibition, testing, or support)

d. : pedestal , plinth 2

e. : a frame for supporting a log while sawing it

f. : a base commonly of wood or metal on which a relief printing plate is mounted — compare patent base

g. : a bookbinder's stamp too large for handwork

h. : gage block

5. : a whole made up of like or unlike elements especially when itself a part of some greater whole : aggregate:

a. : a quantity, number, or section of things dealt with as a unit

a large block of shares

the experimental block of trees was far more productive than the control

b. : pad I 7


[probably translation of Dutch blok ]

(1) : a large building divided into separate functional units (as shops or offices)

(2) : a line of row houses

(3) : a group of neighboring buildings (as houses built by a single agency)

(4) : a part of a building or integrated group of buildings distinctive in some respect (as in function, origin, or styling) ; sometimes : wing — used almost entirely of large complex structures

a block of classrooms

the laboratory block is nearing completion

a magnificent refectory was then designed in one block of the palace

(5) : cellblock

d. : something of a convenient or appropriate size (as for handling, working, using, or considering)

a block of questions

a design for a quilt block


[probably translation of Dutch blok ]

: a portion of land: as

(1) : a usually rectangular space (as in a city) enclosed usually by streets but sometimes by other bounds (as rivers or railroads) and occupied by or intended for buildings

a factory covering an entire block

(2) : the distance along one of the sides of such a block

living only two blocks from the bus

walked 10 blocks

: the side of a block abutting on a street

(3) : an area of land

four blocks of woodland

especially : a tract of land leased for drilling a wildcat oil well

(4) : a part of the earth's crust bounded by faults and behaving as a unit in earth movements due to faulting

(5) chiefly Australia : one of the large lots of public land divided by the government and opened to settlers

(6) often capitalized , Australia : a street or quarter of a city ; often : a section popular as a promenade — usually used with the


[French bloc ]

: bloc

g. : a group of four or more attached stamps in square or rectangular arrangement — contrasted with strip

h. : a length of railroad track of defined limits the use of which is governed by block signals

i. : a group of points considered together in determining transportation rates

j. : two or more lines of type set flush left and right


a. : cut 3k(1) ; especially : woodcut

b. : material (as linoleum or rubber) mounted (as on wood or plywood) and having on its surface a hand-cut design from which impressions are to be printed — see block print vt 1a

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

transitive verb


a. : to render (as a way) unsuitable for passage or progress by obstruction

they blocked the road with a barricade

— sometimes used with up

if grease blocks up the pipe

my nose is all blocked up

b. archaic : blockade , invest

a city … besieged and blocked about — John Milton

c. : to obstruct the passage, progress, or accomplishment of (someone or something) especially by a positive obstacle

they made every effort to block his election

the ambulance was blocked by traffic

his brother blocked him at every turn

d. : to interfere usually legitimately with (an opponent's action or equipment) in various games or sports (as by use of a block): as

(1) : to end (as a game of dominoes) with a block

(2) : to check the play of (as a piece in checkers by suitable arrangement of pieces or a suit in bridge by withholding a high card of the suit from play)

(3) : to halt or impede the progress of (a ball) usually in a particular manner (as in cricket, volleyball, or football)

(4) : to obstruct or interfere with (an opponent, his play, or his movement) by bodily contact ; specifically : to so impede the progress of (a basketball player who does not have the ball)

e. : to prevent normal functioning of (a bodily element)

block the reticuloendothelial system with trypan blue

block a nerve with novocaine

f. : to stop the output of alternating current from (an electron tube) by overloading the input

g. chemistry : to obstruct the effect of : render inactive : hinder , mask

a carboxyl group blocked by esterification

h. : to prohibit conversion of (foreign-held funds) into foreign exchange also : to limit the use to be made of (such funds) within the country — compare freeze

2. : to mark or indicate the outline or chief lines of — usually used with out, sometimes with in

let's block out our plan of action

it's a good idea to block in the main masses of light and shade before touching any details of the drawing

3. : to shape on, with, or as if with a block: as

a. : to shape or restore (as a garment) to original dimensions by applying steam and adjusting sometimes over a form

block a sweater to a person's measurements


(1) : to emboss (book covers) with a frame or block containing the entire device

(2) : stamp I 3e

4. : to form or divide into blocks

block coal


a. : to remove (as sugar-beet seedlings) from drills with a hoe or other tool so as to leave small bunches for thinning later to single plants

b. : to set (two or more lines of type) flush left and right

c. : to separate (hair) into squared-off sections for waving

d. : to divide (beef) into wholesale cuts


a. : to secure, support, provide, or raise with a block

blocking a plate for printing

— often used with up

block up one rear wheel

b. : to secure (as two boards at their angles of intersection) by pieces of wood glued to each

c. : to raise the walls of (a log cabin) — used with up

6. : to run (trains) by the block system

intransitive verb

1. : to make or commit a block (as in football, boxing, basketball) : block an opponent

2. of paper : to stick together under the influence of heat and pressure

3. : to experience or exhibit psychological blocking or blockage

4. of a photographic print or negative : to lack halftones or gradations in highlights or shadows — usually used with up

Synonyms: see hinder

III. adjective


a. : made or taken in the block

a block sum

b. : formed (as by pressing) into a block

block rubber

c. : of or forming block or a block : formed of blocks

2. of an address, heading, or paragraph : forming a block without an indentation at the left

3. : resembling a block : block-universe

IV. transitive verb

: to work out (as the principal positions and movements) for the performers (as of a play) ; also : to work out the players' positions and movements for (as a scene or a play) — often used with out

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.