from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A solid piece of a hard substance, such as wood, having one or more flat sides.
  • noun Such a piece used as a construction member or as a support.
  • noun Such a piece upon which chopping or cutting is done.
  • noun Such a piece upon which persons are beheaded.
  • noun One of a set of small wooden or plastic pieces, such as a cube, bar, or cylinder, used as a building toy.
  • noun Printing A large amount of text.
  • noun Sports A starting block.
  • noun A stand from which articles are displayed and sold at an auction.
  • noun A mold or form on which an item is shaped or displayed.
  • noun A substance, such as wood or stone, that has been prepared for engraving.
  • noun A pulley or a system of pulleys set in a casing.
  • noun An engine block.
  • noun A bloc.
  • noun A set of like items, such as shares of stock, sold or handled as a unit.
  • noun A group of four or more unseparated postage stamps forming a rectangle.
  • noun Canadian A group of townships in an unsurveyed area.
  • noun A usually rectangular section of a city or town bounded on each side by consecutive streets.
  • noun A segment of a street bounded by consecutive cross streets and including its buildings and inhabitants.
  • noun A large building divided into separate units, such as apartments.
  • noun A length of railroad track controlled by signals.
  • noun Something that obstructs; an obstacle.
  • noun The act of preventing someone or something from advancing, passing, or progressing, as.
  • noun Sports An act of bodily obstruction, as of a player or the ball.
  • noun Football An act of legally using one's body to obstruct or move a defensive player so that a player in possession of the ball may advance downfield, pass, or otherwise execute an offensive play.
  • noun Medicine Interruption or obstruction of a physiological function.
  • noun Psychology A sudden cessation of speech or a thought process without an immediate observable cause, sometimes considered a consequence of repression.
  • noun Slang The human head.
  • intransitive verb To stop or impede the passage of or movement through; obstruct.
  • intransitive verb To prevent from happening, succeeding, or progressing.
  • intransitive verb To shut out from view.
  • intransitive verb To stop the passage of (a motion or bill) in a legislative assembly.
  • intransitive verb Sports To prevent or slow the movement of (an opponent) by using one's body, as by making a block in football.
  • intransitive verb Sports To stop or deflect (a ball or puck) by using one's body.
  • intransitive verb Medicine To interrupt or obstruct the functioning of (a physiological process), especially by the use of drugs.
  • intransitive verb Psychology To fail to remember.
  • intransitive verb To support, strengthen, or retain in place by means of a block.
  • intransitive verb To shape, mold, or form with or on a block.
  • intransitive verb To indicate broadly without great detail; sketch. Often used with out:
  • intransitive verb To run (trains) on a block system.
  • intransitive verb To obstruct the movement of an opponent by using one's body.
  • intransitive verb To stop or deflect a ball or puck by using one's body.
  • intransitive verb To suffer a mental block. Often used with on:
  • idiom (go on the block) To be offered for sale.


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

[Middle English blok, from Old French bloc, from Middle Dutch.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English blok ("log, stump, solid piece"), 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.


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