Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A group of nations, parties, or persons united for common action: the Communist bloc.
  • n. An often bipartisan coalition of legislators acting together for a common purpose or interest: the farm bloc in the U.S. Senate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a group of voters or politicians who share common goals
  • n. a group of countries acting together for political or economic goals, an alliance: e.g., the eastern bloc, the western bloc, a trading bloc

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a group of countries in special alliance

Etymologies

French, from Old French, block; see block.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French bloc ("group, block"), from Middle French bloc ("a considerable piece of something heavy, block"), from Old French bloc ("log, block"), from Middle Dutch blok ("treetrunk"), from Old Saxon *blok ("log"), from Proto-Germanic *bluk(k)an (“beam, log”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhulg'-, from *bhelg'- (“thick plank, beam, pile, prop”). Cognate with Old High German bloh, bloc (German Block, "block"), Old English bolca ("gangway of a ship, plank"), Old Norse bǫlkr (Norwegian bolk, "divider, partition"). More at balk. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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