Definition of block in English:

block

noun

  • 1A large solid piece of hard material, especially rock, stone, or wood, typically with flat surfaces on each side.

    ‘a block of marble’
    • ‘The strapping is used for a wide range of materials such as bricks, blocks, briquettes and tiles.’
    • ‘It is hoped to build a block wall faced with stone as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Other materials for terraces include bricks, rocks, concrete blocks, and similar masonry materials.’
    • ‘You're going to need a paved surface, concrete blocks, Tarmac even, so the delivery vehicles can get to the shops by the river.’
    • ‘Alex indicated a small, wooden block embedded in the stone floor.’
    • ‘It was like we were sitting on opposite sides of a block of marble.’
    • ‘An Incan wall of irregular stone blocks, fitted together so precisely that even after centuries of earthquakes it is not possible to fit a piece of paper between the joints.’
    • ‘One of the beds is even held up by a stack of wooden blocks!’
    • ‘All the features, including stone blocks, wooden and steel doors and even the ironmongery, were hand-carved by the company's craft experts.’
    • ‘These huge, isolated blocks of rock look as though they should not be there.’
    • ‘It is unfashionable to say so, but there is something powerfully evocative about this block of stone.’
    • ‘This guy has built various mathematical surfaces from lego blocks and some of them look amazingly intricate.’
    • ‘Now it resembled a low fortress wall with blocks of stone evenly cut and dressed, and white lines to guide devotees on moonless nights.’
    • ‘There, as it had been during his initial inspection, was a stone block wall just as solid as any other in the castle.’
    • ‘In their traditional form, glass blocks are set like bricks or concrete blocks - one block at a time in slow, carefully constructed rows.’
    • ‘The upper guide had a steel roller at the back of the saw with hard maple side blocks.’
    • ‘Common building materials are concrete blocks and bricks.’
    • ‘The surface of gravel or blocks set on stone provides another permeable layer.’
    • ‘Its walls are made of solid stone blocks weighing over sixty tons each.’
    • ‘We waited two more months, saving enough to purchase 1,500 concrete blocks for the basement walls.’
    chunk, hunk, brick, slab, lump, piece
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    1. 1.1 A sturdy flat-topped piece of wood used as a work surface.
      ‘a chopping block’
      • ‘She took out a large knife from the cutting block and sliced a piece of cheese, promptly eating one.’
      • ‘Extracting a block of wood and a knife he held it up to her from his seat on the floor.’
    2. 1.2 A packaged rectangular portion of butter, ice cream, chocolate, etc.
      ‘a family block of ice cream’
      • ‘It's at home, but the only time I've only ever used it has been for melting blocks of chocolate to make sauces.’
      • ‘I chewed ravenously as he pulled out a block of cheese and a slab of dried meat wrapped in a cloth.’
      • ‘He had unwrapped a large block of chocolate and had carelessly scattered his wrapper on the ground even though the bin was only a few metres away.’
      • ‘They couldn't have been simpler, just a block of vanilla ice cream in a glass and then fill with either coke or lemonade.’
      • ‘I felt like I'd just discovered a block of my favourite chocolate in the fridge just when I was feeling peckish.’
      • ‘I dropped a block of bittersweet chocolate on a cutting board.’
      • ‘So much work and time for just a measly block of cheese.’
      • ‘Maybe you could give her a batch of bran muffins, a block of cheese, some fruit and some juice boxes every week.’
      • ‘The easiest way to shape thin chocolate curls is to shave them directly from a block of chocolate, using a swivel vegetable peeler or sharp knife.’
      • ‘She took out a loaf of rye bread and a block of cheese wrapped in more paper.’
      • ‘The recipe calls for a whole 250g block of butter.’
      • ‘I would go with my dad to awards banquets, where we would politely eat cold chicken, hard green peas, and a block of Neapolitan ice cream.’
      • ‘The ‘glass’ was a square block of ice with a hole in the centre.’
      • ‘In Chapter 2 we likened Mark's gospel to a block of chocolate which can easily be broken up into separate pieces.’
      • ‘It is made by placing a well-chilled block of ice cream on a base of sponge cake, masking it with uncooked meringue, and then baking it in a hot oven.’
      • ‘When you are ready to serve, cut the caramel block into your desired portion sizes and indulge.’
      • ‘To make the curls, pull a vegetable peeler across the block of cheese.’
      • ‘The ice cream came in blocks about six inches square.’
      • ‘The charity will also insist that parents should be allowed to take the leave on a full-time or part-time basis, in one block of time or in several shorter blocks.’
      • ‘Bottle of milk, bottle of water, almost empty tub of margarine, half empty bottle of wine, 2 eggs and a small block of cheese.’
      chunk, hunk, brick, slab, lump, piece
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    3. 1.3British A set of sheets of paper glued along one edge, used for drawing or writing on.
      ‘a sketching block’
      • ‘if you want to make good watercolor sketches, pick up a block<(em> of watercolor paper in some portable size.’
      • ‘A large conference table and whiteboard occupied one side of the room; the other side was filled with desks, notebooks and drawing blocks.’
      • ‘I had my notes, a block of standard A4 lined refill paper for my essays and a sketchbook for art.’
      • ‘And her eye falls on a ball-point pen, which is innocently lying on top of a block of squared paper.’
      • ‘The blocks of paper demolished the wall that was being repaired by builder David Gott after they were flung from the vehicle on the sharp corner bend approaching Keighley Road from Colne.’
      pad, notebook, jotter, tablet, sketchbook, scratch pad
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4usually blocks A starting block.
      ‘Jackson jetted out of his blocks’
      • ‘She blasted out of the blocks and immediately established her dominance over the other runners.’
      • ‘In 1984 at the Olympic Games, I was no better than fifth when I stepped on the blocks.’
      • ‘Galway were out of the blocks quicker in the second half.’
      • ‘We were slow out of the blocks against Italy but we expected a difficult game anyway in Rome.’
      • ‘So, as the women mounted the blocks for the start of the 50 meter free final, there was a certain amount of tension in the air.’
      • ‘I'm trying to focus and not to false start, fall at the line or basically walk instead of run out of the blocks as I sometimes do because any of these things could happen.’
      • ‘The sprinters get out of the blocks in the 100m as Oxford produce a superb overall team performance in the FEAR competition against Cambridge’
      • ‘As she blasted out of the blocks in the 400 metres in the European Championships last week, it looked like she might make qualification.’
      • ‘So he mounted the blocks in his resplendent blue trunks and did a massive belly flop on the starters gun.’
      • ‘The excitement was almost palpable as Michael stepped on the blocks on Day One for his first race, the 200 meter individual medley.’
      • ‘Less and less are we seeing these gleaming muscular models that step into the blocks looking more like bodybuilders than runners, particularly the women!’
      • ‘He will now step up to the blocks to swim the 200, together with the 400 and 1500 free in the forthcoming games.’
      • ‘If our athletes feel disillusioned from the outset how on earth are they going to beat their peers when they step up to the blocks at the Olympics?’
      • ‘In every game, the pattern has been the same: The starting lineup gets out of the blocks well and quickly assumes a double-digit lead.’
      • ‘As Maggie eases him over the stern of the catamaran, his flippers feel water - and suddenly he's out of the blocks like an Olympic sprinter.’
      • ‘Starting at the 10th hole on the final day, he shot out of the blocks, birdying the 11th and 12th.’
      • ‘It was the perfect way to shrug of the frustrations of the 100m, where he was sluggish out of the blocks, but more particularly the long jump which followed the sprint.’
      • ‘The timers backed away as she stepped up to the block, for they knew Sally was now focused on the swimmers and the clock.’
      • ‘Mayo roared out of the blocks and built up a commanding lead.’
      • ‘Ireland were quicker out of the blocks, and they put immediate pressure on Scotland with two attacking moves in quick succession from penalty-created lineouts.’
    5. 1.5Printing A piece of wood or metal engraved for printing on paper or fabric.
      • ‘The goal is to provide practical experience about block printing and registration of blocks.’
      • ‘For multi-color printing several blocks had to be carved - one for each color.’
      • ‘The artist could carve an image onto wooden or metal blocks, ink the block and impress it on paper.’
      • ‘The printing blocks are made of wood, metal and other materials.’
      • ‘He has a predilection for wallpaper and wrapping paper, to which he applies repetitive motifs using stamps made from cut and engraved blocks of wood dipped in printer's ink or paint.’
    6. 1.6 A large metal moulding containing the cylinders of an internal combustion engine.
      • ‘A few chunks of twisted metal will identify the delivery vehicles, especially if the bombers forgot to file off serial numbers on the engine block.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, he says it may be possible to introduce a common cylinder block for gasoline and diesel engines within five years.’
      • ‘To fully inspect for damage, all components above the cylinder block were removed except for six of the 16 cylinder heads, one of the two charge air coolers and the engine controls.’
      • ‘Pistons for internal combustion engines are hard anodized to minimize the amount of thermal expansion in relation to possible thermal expansion of the engine block.’
      • ‘Another was scraping resin off the engine block, to find some sort of identifying numbers.’
      • ‘The engine block and cylinder head are made of cast aluminium.’
      • ‘Descending the reef again, I came across the engine block and crankshaft.’
      • ‘It doesn't, however, have an aluminum engine block.’
      • ‘You need a piston, a manifold, then you need an engine block, a carburetor, a distributer, this that and the other thing.’
      • ‘The impact was so intense that it cracked the engine block, ripped the seat bolts out of the floor board, caused the top of the car to cave in, and knocked both of my shoes off.’
      • ‘Cables, gantries and all manner of unrecognisable machinery hamper navigation, although as time passes an exposed engine block allows me to make a bit more sense of the scene.’
      • ‘Your engine block could freeze in the subzero winter temperatures - which seem to last from September to mid-June.’
      • ‘These include a raised capacity, new cylinder block, pistons and crankshaft.’
      • ‘These are bolted to the engine block and sealed with the aforementioned head gasket.’
      • ‘In addition there is a danger that freezing of water and the consequent expansion might even crack the radiator or the engine block.’
      • ‘In addition, there is room above the crank to isolate the camshaft in a cast tubular chamber - making the cylinder block stiffer.’
      • ‘There was an expensive shriek of metal being crushed and the steam roller rose almost a full eight inches before the engine block shattered.’
      • ‘Water doesn't compress and the piston in effect hits a wall, bending or breaking a con rod and possibly shattering the engine block.’
      • ‘For example, an automobile engine block is normally cast iron except for some which might be cast aluminum.’
      • ‘The cylinder block has cast-in iron liners, and a one-piece aluminum crankshaft carrier with ferrous-carbon bearing cap inserts.’
    7. 1.7 A head-shaped mould for shaping hats or wigs.
  • 2British A large single building subdivided into separate rooms, flats, or offices.

    ‘a block of flats’
    • ‘But now there are plans to knock down the 1960s building and put three blocks of flats in its place.’
    • ‘The third phase will involve the demolition of three accommodation blocks to make room for two new ones.’
    • ‘Now the firm has drawn up a new scheme for two seven-storey blocks of flats and a three-storey shopping and office complex.’
    • ‘Terraces and higher blocks of residential with offices on lower storeys, with 10 acre park on podium.’
    • ‘The apartments will be in two blocks separated by a newly - created close, continuing the use of The Old Fish Market Close.’
    • ‘There would be 182 one and two-bedroom flats separated into three four-storey blocks on the site.’
    • ‘I was disturbed that 2 office blocks and a block of flats have sprung up on what were empty spaces in a nearby town since I last went past a month ago.’
    • ‘The church still stands, now surrounded by office buildings and blocks of flats, and looking rather small among its neighbours.’
    • ‘Nests have been known on railway bridges only a few feet below the tracks, in buildings near office blocks and on balconies of blocks of flats’
    • ‘The scheme, which includes terraced homes and three-storey blocks of flats, has already been given permission in principle.’
    • ‘The library building will be ripped down and replaced with a block of 29 sheltered accommodation flats and a new ground floor library.’
    • ‘Members ignored officers' advice and said two three-storey blocks of flats would have an adverse impact on neighbouring homes through overdevelopment.’
    • ‘Proposals to turn part of the existing building into flats and to build two blocks of two-storey flats have caused surprise and raised questions about where any revenue from the flats would go.’
    • ‘We now have a ‘box’ (actually bag) recycling scheme in our block for textiles, paper, cardboard, glass and tins.’
    • ‘A five-storey block incorporating offices and flats will now go ahead following the decision by councillors last week.’
    • ‘Sportsmen and women will be accommodated mainly two to a room in 32 blocks in six student halls of residence.’
    • ‘In contrast, most British residential blocks of flats were built by local authorities in the 1950s - 70s.’
    • ‘There must be some residential development in the area but we don't want blocks of flats or offices.’
    • ‘On the north, the block contains a wooden staircase to the gallery and terrace, and bath- and shower-rooms.’
    • ‘Whether you opt for a single flat or whole block, though, choosing where to buy can require some careful research.’
    building, complex, structure, development
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    1. 2.1 A building or part of a complex used for a particular purpose.
      ‘a shower block’
      • ‘The blaze wrecked the school's offices, staff room, medical room and toilet block.’
      • ‘Fires were started during the disturbance and one of the accommodation blocks and the administration block were completely gutted.’
      • ‘And then the area surrounding that, right from the edge of the stable block into the Botanic Gardens, has now been created into a very large roof space.’
      • ‘A women's centre and an urban prayer garden complete the Cathedral block.’
      • ‘Meters have been re-connected in shower blocks.’
      • ‘A new roof and boilers are needed, along with new toilet and shower blocks.’
      • ‘The fire started in a manure heap on their farm, engulfed a trailer and looked set to spread along the stable block.’
      • ‘The College has been granted planning permission to develop student housing blocks on their grounds.’
      • ‘They walked inside the front entrance together and then went their separate ways to form rooms about two school blocks apart.’
      • ‘The completion of the science block is not the end of developments at the School.’
      • ‘A new roof and heating system are among the priorities, as are upgraded toilet and shower blocks.’
      • ‘Block E is the smallest block and is located along the Eastern boundary, adjacent to the rear of the Courthouse.’
      • ‘There was a shower block for which you had to queue.’
      • ‘The report concluded that a simple burning rag should not have led to a huge fire that involved the roofs of two separate blocks of the building.’
      • ‘But the school burned down and many classrooms and hostel blocks were completely destroyed.’
      • ‘They all have static caravans, some with their own showers - and if not, there are shower blocks.’
      • ‘It was not just a pure fun programme mind you, but the proceeds of this show will go for building of a sanitary block for the school.’
      building, complex, structure, development
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    2. 2.2 A group of buildings bounded by four streets.
      ‘she went for a run round the block’
      • ‘Global terror is down the street, around the block.’
      • ‘It was parked at the end of the street and he drove it round the block, intending to park it outside his house, but was stopped on the way.’
      • ‘I've been up the street, around the block, into the store and home again.’
      • ‘Some drive around the block rather than making a left turn.’
      • ‘The long lines snaked around the block in both directions.’
      • ‘Round the block is Molesworth Street, home to a number of art establishments.’
      • ‘I drove around the block, swung across the road in what I thought was impeccable style, and was just moving into position by the pavement, when a police car drew up beside me.’
    3. 2.3North American Any urban or suburban area bounded by four streets.
      ‘ours was the ugliest house on the block’
      • ‘Regular maintenance of the street ended after three blocks and the area beyond looked rougher.’
      • ‘Now the former residents are being resettled in distant, high-rise residential blocks.’
      • ‘There are five different Vinyl Japan stores in the same block, four if you don't count the house/dance music store.’
      • ‘As a result, he photographed and described street blocks and individual houses.’
      • ‘In particular, there is concern over several blocks along Fifth and Forbes Avenues in the center of town.’
      • ‘On the block where I lived, I remember seeing a young woman hunched over in pain, weeping hysterically.’
      • ‘One of the residents said the area's council blocks had been transformed since the project started.’
      • ‘As she shoved the note back into her book, the sound of several storm doors could be heard along the block as some of the late kids ran to catch the bus.’
      • ‘The Trust owns about 70 percent of four blocks in that area.’
      • ‘The family lives on a close-knit block in suburban Chicago.’
      • ‘The Marines found that one out of every four city blocks contained a major weapons storage area.’
      • ‘The houses were arranged in blocks, with four houses to every side of a block.’
      • ‘Somebody's already started going around my block in an ice cream van - before the daffodils are even certain of themselves yet.’
      • ‘On the same block four months later, a construction worker renovating a house made a dreadful discovery.’
      • ‘This map does not register streets or blocks of houses, but consists of the sheer movements of real people.’
      • ‘Just down the street from me, for example, there's a block with several boarded-up houses on it.’
      • ‘At the same time in DC, three intimidating looking black guys pulled up in front of a big house on a tree-lined block in a suburban neighborhood.’
      • ‘Long lines of cars, taxis and buses coiled around city blocks and suburban streets.’
    4. 2.4North American The length of one side of a block, especially as a measure of distance.
      ‘he lives a few blocks away from the museum’
      • ‘She made her way to the corner store four blocks from her house.’
      • ‘Nora was walking down the street a couple of blocks away from my house.’
      • ‘They could hear the noise from the crowd when they were a block away, along with the sounds of the band tuning up.’
      • ‘Interior hallways run nearly the length of a city block, and could have resembled an endless, generic motel corridor.’
      • ‘And the water can enter the system from an area three, four blocks, a mile away.’
      • ‘In no time at all the said queue stretched the entire length of the block.’
      • ‘Although the distance to the pool was only about the length of a short block, my feet felt as though they were about to fall off because they were so cold.’
      • ‘She sat sullenly the last three blocks, tension mounting within her.’
      • ‘They walked up the four blocks to the coffee house.’
      • ‘I'm pretty sure you can obtain all those things within 2 or 3 blocks along Melrose Blvd. in Hollywood.’
      • ‘We walked along the piers seven blocks then up the hill to the Pike Street Market.’
      • ‘A vigil every 20 blocks for the whole length of Manhattan.’
      • ‘He had only seen her from a distance, from a block away, but that had been enough, and he was determined never to see her up close.’
      • ‘I would never backpack or turn a somersault or jump to the ground from even the most modest height or run the length of half a block.’
      • ‘Allie's house was only four blocks away so we decided to walk there.’
      • ‘Broadway is a few blocks distant but worlds away from the cultural corridor along Grand Avenue.’
      • ‘At about the same time, a few blocks from Mrs. Rider, a woman and her children awoke and began vomiting.’
      • ‘It's five blocks to the mall in the opposite direction from the school, four blocks past my house.’
      • ‘A few arrests were made when protesters tried to break through barricades set up within two blocks of the Garden along the march route.’
      • ‘I took this photo this morning on a street a couple of blocks from my house.’
  • 3A large quantity or allocation of things regarded as a unit.

    ‘a block of shares’
    ‘final examinations will be taken in a block at the end of the course’
    • ‘Each subject completed 10 blocks of 10 practice trials.’
    • ‘Each block or placement is completed in a different facility.’
    • ‘The therapy involves undertaking six-week blocks of different exercises, spread over a year, with the aim of stimulating a part of the brain called the cerebellum.’
    • ‘All of the participants completed both blocks with the order of completion counterbalanced across participants.’
    • ‘The expressions were ordered in a random way rather than in blocks of expressions with the same algebraic structure.’
    • ‘All subjects completed five blocks of 15 learning trials.’
    • ‘The order of presentation of these blocks was completely randomized across participants.’
    • ‘Braille music uses the same system of raised dots on paper as standard Braille, with the top four dots in a block of six giving the note and the bottom two indicating its duration.’
    • ‘These spirals were three and four years long each, so for all intents and purposes they were blocks.’
    • ‘If he has completed his initial block, he keeps moving, looking for someone else to hit.’
    • ‘These items were added as a block to the entire questionnaire.’
    • ‘A block of 55,500 Petrol shares was sold at 14.31 and another 129,500 shares at 14.32.’
    • ‘You will most likely sleep in two hour blocks at completely random times throughout the day.’
    • ‘Each participant completed three blocks of 120 trials, one for each of the difficulty levels.’
    • ‘The surgical suite allocates Dr Jones two eight-hour blocks per week to complete his elective cases.’
    batch, group, cluster, set, section, quantity, series
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    1. 3.1Computing A large piece of text processed as a unit.
      • ‘Maybe you type the same blocks of text into your email messages thirty times a day.’
      • ‘Text messaging, which allows blocks of text up to 160 characters long to be sent, has been a huge success with 50 million being sent in Britain alone every day.’
      • ‘When speaking about hypertext, it refers specifically to blocks of text connected by hyperlinks.’
      • ‘The method is well suited for use in a microprocessor-based modem operating on blocks of data.’
      • ‘For example, one informant disliked scrolling to read columns and preferred page-wide blocks of text.’
  • 4An obstacle to the normal progress or functioning of something.

    ‘substantial demands for time off may constitute a block to career advancement’
    ‘an emotional block’
    • ‘The result was ‘a writing block which went on for a long time, and I am sure it was because I was afraid to say what I wanted, what mattered to me’.’
    • ‘Maybe he has a writing block because he doesn't smoke.’
    • ‘But you put up mental and emotional blocks around your mind.’
    • ‘I refuse to believe that the colour of my skin is a block to achieving whatever I want to be.’
    • ‘Indeed, I fear that serial co-habitation could actually be a block to marriage with parties becoming afraid of making the commitment.’
    • ‘It goes to reinforce my jaded view that the media are a block to reasoned public debate, the open society, and education.’
    • ‘Secondly a whole set of conditions have been placed on the developing world, many of which have been seen by campaigners and the nations themselves, as a block to necessary progress.’
    • ‘It had just become too expensive (and was becoming a block to ‘free’ trade).’
    • ‘The major problem that emerges is voltage leaks, which cause the chip to heat up considerably and ultimately put a block on progress.’
    • ‘If you break the rules of existence, there's usually a block to progress until you have connected things.’
    • ‘A high-profile civil case would mean lurid newspaper headlines and act as a block to any possibility of restarting a television career.’
    • ‘The public system as a whole is seen as a block to that market.’
    • ‘The writing block that plagued him for years has started to lift.’
    • ‘Also, overcoming the obstacle of having these blocks put in the path - they're not willing to settle for less than what they're capable of doing.’
    obstacle, obstruction, bar, barrier, impediment, hindrance, check, hurdle, stumbling block
    blockage, obstruction, stoppage, stopping up, clot, occlusion
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    1. 4.1 An act of blocking someone or something.
      ‘Marshall's shot drew a fine block from the goalkeeper’
      • ‘He is very good in space, whether it's pulling on wide plays or getting a downfield block.’
      • ‘His exceptional quickness and agility allow him to get downfield and make blocks at the second level of the defense.’
      • ‘This also limits his ability to make downfield blocks on linebackers.’
      • ‘He can pull on running plays and screens and get downfield to throw a block.’
      • ‘A sure-fire way to get beat is to be thinking about the last block rather than focusing on the next.’
      • ‘As the two fighters once again clashed, their movements became faster and more intense with each block.’
      • ‘Moss, meanwhile, began running out every pattern, even when he was a decoy, and he started throwing blocks downfield.’
      • ‘Driver caught seven passes for 78 yards and executed several downfield blocks.’
      • ‘He is smart, quick and agile enough to make blocks downfield, but lacks the initial pop to be an outstanding guard.’
      • ‘Bell is usually the first one downfield on punts, fighting through blocks and disrupting the return.’
      • ‘A lot of this is developed on the playground where no real fouls are called and the shooters must alter their shot to avoid a block.’
      • ‘There's a flip side, though: One big shot or a great block will inspire this guy like no one else.’
      • ‘He's not quick enough to defeat blocks in the run game to pursue backside running plays and is a liability in coverage.’
      • ‘Dilger doesn't hesitate to sell out on a block downfield or on the line.’
      • ‘He's a good athlete who has the ability to get downfield and make blocks.’
      • ‘Miss a block and a teammate will be dealt a devastating blow.’
      • ‘Lunge, parry, head block… all the movements of sword fighting were familiar to her.’
      • ‘Wand has long arms, but he doesn't use them to his advantage to gain leverage and maintain blocks.’
      • ‘When it comes to communicating the importance of a movement, a block, a play, or a game, Davis has few equals.’
      • ‘He was the bulldozer for college football's most punishing running attack, with the pancake block being his trademark.’
    2. 4.2 A chock for stopping the motion of a wheel.
      • ‘Make sure you have a jack that will lift the trailer (with horses inside) or a wheel block to pull one trailer tire onto to get the other one off the ground.’
    3. 4.3Cricket The spot on which a batsman rests the end of the bat while waiting to receive a ball.
      • ‘He misses, the ball lands in the block hole, and makes contact with the pads.’
      • ‘Exactly half of his deliveries were on a good length, and while he banged 18 in short, another 11 were pitched well up in the blockhole.’
      • ‘He picked up four late wickets by virtue of keeping the ball up in the blockhole.’
  • 5A flat area of something, especially a solid area of colour.

    ‘cover the eyelid with a neutral block of colour’
    • ‘It would look silly to draw the character as is; the background would be drawn too, and the character would be surrounded by a block of solid color.’
    • ‘This image has four blocks of colour – dark green, burgundy, dark blue and light cyan – used to adjust the colour settings of a computer monitor.’
    • ‘Turquoise with bright color blocks of red and yellow.’
    • ‘The ink of the fixing agent is subsequently overprinted on the above block of colour in the required image.’
    • ‘Women don't want a block of colour, especially not black after all this mourning.’
    • ‘The visual system of the tsetse fly is particularly sensitive to large blocks of contrasting color.’
    1. 5.1Australian, NZ historical An area of land, in particular a tract offered to an individual settler by a government.
      • ‘His scheme collapsed and he and his family settled on a block of land south west of Clare.’
      • ‘The preamble talks about how approximately 87,000 acres of confiscated land was divided into blocks.’
      • ‘There were also many blocks of land listed in Adelaide and country towns as well as cattle, sheep and farming implements.’
      • ‘During 1878 the town of Eurelia was surveyed and the first blocks of land sold on 10 October 1878 for $5. each.’
      • ‘That feature is linked to the original development of the irrigation areas with smallholder fruit blocks for soldier settlers and, later, new immigrants.’
    2. 5.2Australian An urban or suburban building plot.
      • ‘The business was being used to sell country homes and blocks of land throughout New South Wales.’
      • ‘It had 432 allotments of a quarter acre each and 88 suburban blocks ranging in size from five to eleven acres.’
      • ‘Those business people have now been subdividing the land, and selling blocks for housing and commercial developments.’
      • ‘Large blocks of land had not been amalgamated as envisaged.’
      • ‘If we wander in here, see I suppose this area here is probably only about as big as a couple of suburban blocks of land.’
  • 6A pulley or system of pulleys mounted in a case.

    ‘a simple pulley block’
    • ‘It is a hoist for lifting appliances, and more specifically a block-and-pulley arrangement, or a block-and-tackle arrangement.’
    • ‘A block which moves downward is attached to a string which is wrapped around the pulley.’
    • ‘It was here that he was awarded £17,000 by the government for the patent of his mechanical ships blocks.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Make the movement or flow in (a passage, pipe, road, etc.) difficult or impossible.

    ‘block up the holes with sticky tape’
    ‘the narrow roads were blocked by cars’
    ‘a blocked nose’
    • ‘The second trailer remained upright as the truck slid to the wrong side of the road, blocking the highway.’
    • ‘A group of young men hanging out in the middle of the road blocked her passage.’
    • ‘The truck was greeted at the end of the approach road by a number of tractors which blocked the passage and proceeded slowly along the two mile journey.’
    • ‘They literally bulldozed aside the police cars blocking the road.’
    • ‘She was blocking the road and cars behind her and in front of her were unable to move.’
    • ‘We turned right and, sure enough, the road was blocked and the car park boarded off and derelict.’
    • ‘Major roads were blocked off, threatening huge traffic disruption.’
    • ‘All the street was blocked off and there were so many people outside.’
    • ‘A portion of this tube may be causing you difficulty due to narrowing or a growth blocking the passage of food and liquids.’
    • ‘They cannot risk the frequent delivery delays that occur when the motorway is blocked by road works or accidents.’
    • ‘In those cases, the fuelers usually set up on a major road that was blocked off for fueling operations.’
    • ‘But police radioed ahead and blocked off the narrow road with a police pick-up truck, finally bringing the Toyota to a stop.’
    • ‘The road was blocked off and the 93 bus couldn't get through, so I caught another one which took me all around the houses, but it was still stuck in traffic.’
    • ‘As well as blocking the hospital drive there have been problems with cars blocking the road and parking in the driveways of houses.’
    • ‘‘The parked cars block the road and leave nowhere for anyone to pull in,’ he said.’
    • ‘New Street was blocked off and police diverted traffic onto High Street.’
    • ‘A waste disposal lorry and a pick-up truck crashed on a narrow bridge, blocking a main road.’
    • ‘Emergency services were called and the road was blocked off.’
    • ‘A truck parked in the middle of the narrow street blocked the road.’
    • ‘While allowing the bus stops in the road, care must be taken to avoid buses being parked right opposite to each other on busy roads and blocking entire flow of traffic.’
    clog, clog up, stop up, choke, plug, obstruct, gum up, occlude, dam up, congest, jam, close
    close up, bar, obstruct, shut off, barricade, seal
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Put an obstacle in the way of (something proposed or attempted)
      ‘he stood up, blocking her escape’
      ‘the government tried to block an agreement on farm subsidies’
      • ‘New temporary barriers have been installed to block any other attempts by vehicles to cross the bridge.’
      • ‘Known as ‘the nuclear option’, the Democrats blocked the attempt.’
      • ‘The army sent out a force of sixty men to retrieve him but the attempt was blocked and the group was surrounded by the Apaches.’
      • ‘The management has consistently refused to grant concessions on economic issues and has worked to block attempts at employee organization.’
      • ‘Under the ancien régime these two powerful groups had often blocked princely attempts to rationalize and centralize the administration.’
      • ‘Given they both own more than 25% of shares, either side could block a takeover attempt by the other.’
      • ‘She heard him curse softly and then he shifted his wait, effectively blocking her attempt at freedom.’
      • ‘But when injuries are less obvious or workers seem uncooperative, companies often block every attempt to seek benefits.’
      • ‘First, they block unauthorized attempts to reach and then damage or take control of your system.’
      • ‘Government officials, knowing that the findings would likely be negative and fearful that they would leak, blocked the effort.’
      • ‘But this Council finds the idea distasteful and is blocking every attempt to find a suitable location.’
      • ‘Can you blame the Senate blocking his half-baked attempts at policy formulation?’
      • ‘She was overjoyed at this but as she tried to merge with it something powerful blocked her attempts.’
      • ‘His replacement as senior consultant blocks an attempt for him to be awarded emeritus status.’
      • ‘Fortunately I think our firewall had been blocking the access attempts, but the popup ads were still happening.’
      • ‘Opposition Conservative MPs blocked an attempt by the government to fine the companies $250,000 a day for contempt of Parliament.’
      • ‘The company initially tried to block attempts by this newspaper last week to inspect parts of its shareholder register, a public document.’
      hinder, hamper, obstruct, impede, inhibit, check, arrest, restrict, limit, deter, curb, interrupt
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Prevent access to or the use of (email or a website or mobile phone)
      ‘some companies use these IMEI numbers to block stolen phones’
      • ‘Obviously, not all spam filters work that well, but this seems like a really odd choice as a way to block spam.’
      • ‘The idea of blocking access where someone is using a lot of bandwidth just doesn't work.’
      • ‘If requested by police it can block telephone numbers to stop someone calling out, including texting.’
      • ‘Thanks for reviewing and no, I don't think your reviews are like hell for me because if I did, I would have already blocked you.’
      • ‘It was a matter of blocking the critical political web sites.’
      • ‘It will not block pop-ups unless users enable the feature.’
      • ‘A separate debate over Internet monitoring in Germany broke out last month as federal lawmakers approved legislation to allow websites containing child pornography to be blocked.’
      • ‘However, the list is effective at blocking the most egregious spammers so it should result in a significant reduction in spam.’
      • ‘Today, Firefox blocked it to disable a security vulnerability that affects it.’
      • ‘And in the meantime, I'd have someone hide the medical encyclopaedia and block your access to all medical websites, if at all possible.’
    3. 1.3 Restrict the use or conversion of (currency or any other asset).
      • ‘By building up a sizeable stake they will control enough equity in the company to block a compulsory takeover by another bidder.’
      • ‘In his evidence, he said that if the acquisition was blocked, it would have been a waste of a ‘tremendous amount of time and energy’.’
      • ‘This has been blamed for blocking overseas-bound investment by mainland enterprises.’
      • ‘In such circumstances, post-merger performance in the relevant market may be no worse than market performance had the merger been blocked and the assets left the market.’
      • ‘Over the weekend, legislators passed a law blocking access for three years to hard currency held in high-interest accounts with the country's two state banks.’
      • ‘Foreign financial institutions are required to block the funds and assets of such groups.’
      • ‘The U.S. has rallied 120 nations to block assets of suspected terrorist groups.’
    4. 1.4American Football Impede the progress of (a tackler) with one's body.
      • ‘Supposedly he managed to retain his agility as he put on weight, which should help him in pulling and getting out to block linebackers.’
      • ‘The Giants' only score of the game - a touchdown in the third quarter - came when they blocked one of our punts and recovered it in the endzone.’
      • ‘On passes, the offense relies on tight ends to block linebackers and sometimes defensive ends.’
      • ‘The team's backs and tight ends have problems blocking linebackers.’
      • ‘He suffered the injury when he was blocked low on a screen pass.’
    5. 1.5 (in sport) stop (a ball or blow) from finding its mark.
      ‘Knight did well to block Soloman's shot’
      • ‘There is some skill required, as you want to rearrange the cards in order to block your opponent from gaining points.’
      • ‘I don't believe in trying to force a technique that an opponent is blocking - that is just a waste of energy.’
      • ‘He has such explosive leaping ability he can block anyone's shot.’
      • ‘Of course it's best if you can block another opponent while advancing yourself at the same time.’
      • ‘He showed her techniques on how to block or attack the opponent.’
      • ‘Every single one of his intended blows was blocked and parried, even when the man tripped and fell backwards.’
      • ‘Boxers need to move quickly in the ring, block or avoid their opponent's blows, get past his guard and then hit with power.’
      • ‘Two shots were blocked but the ball eventually fell to Chambers who slotted it into the far corner.’
      • ‘There are a ton of punch combinations and you'll need to learn the art of blocking as well, since it could mean the difference during a bout in the ring.’
      • ‘He is a very good athlete who can block shots and has a good shooting stroke.’
      • ‘He could block opponents, he could kick, he could pass.’
      • ‘He brought his stave up and I quickly dropped my left hand, dealing him a one-handed blow on the side off his arm before bringing my own stave up to block his blow.’
      parry, stop, defend against, fend off, stave off, turn aside, deflect, hold off, avert, repel, rebuff, repulse, hold at bay, keep at bay
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6Cricket Stop (a ball) with the bat defensively.
      • ‘And with the Aussie bowling around the wicket into the rough, he is content to let the ball hit his front pad and block the over out.’
      • ‘He was unable to pierce the field and his method of blocking the ball with soft hands close to the wickets to pinch quick singles just didn't work.’
      • ‘The difference between him and everyone else was that he would hit a 50-50 ball that anyone else would leave or block, and hit it with immense force.’
      • ‘He declined to play attacking shots for the best part of his stay at the crease, not even looking to score, and instead blocked, padded up or left the ball alone.’
    7. 1.7Bridge Play in such a way that opponents are prevented from establishing (a long suit).
      • ‘They also block the discard pile for the opponents when discarded.’
      • ‘Black threes can be discarded, and block the next player from taking the pile.’
      • ‘Often, however, you cannot take the discard pile because you are blocked by a black three discarded by your right hand opponent.’
      • ‘A common mistake by beginners is that when your best suit proves to be blocked by the opponent to switch and try each other suit in turn.’
  • 2Impress text or a design on (a book cover).

    • ‘Original pale green linen, blocked in an orange-red and black pictorial design on the upper cover.’
    • ‘Original blue cloth, spine lettered and blocked in gold.’
  • 3Shape or reshape (a hat) on a mould.

    ‘nobody cleans and blocks old felt hats any more’
    • ‘It's going to need a pretty firm hand to block it to shape.’
    • ‘He is well cast and carries the part like a well blocked hat, (though his own hat sometimes got the better of him).’

Phrases

  • have been around the block (a few times)

    • informal (of a person) have a lot of experience.

      • ‘The well-publicised shenanigans of his past prove that he is far from an innocent, but while this man may have been around the block a few times, there remains endearing childlike qualities.’
      • ‘You might say Nick has been around the block once or twice when it comes to online culture and community.’
      • ‘I am educated and well-bred, but I have been around the block a few times.’
      • ‘‘You don't have the feeling that you have to prove something when you have been around the block a few times,’ he says.’
      • ‘Hey, it's all about experience, really, and he's been around the block a few times.’
      • ‘Many new breakthrough artists flung into the scene providing steady competition for the bands that have been around the block and back.’
      • ‘Whatever the reasons, both men ended up sleeping in a strange city and trying to grapple with the expectations of experienced hosts who have been around the block quite a few times.’
      • ‘But, these lads have been around the block a few times and, fair play to them, they showed a lot of resolve to bite the bullet and come good.’
      • ‘We add an element of showbiz that probably comes from my experience of being in bands and having been around the block a few times.’
      • ‘Though 25 years his junior, Ethel gives off the aura of having been around the block a few times.’
  • the new kid on the block

    • informal A newcomer to a particular place or sphere of activity.

      ‘what can the new kid on the block learn from the earlier Democrat's mistakes?’
      • ‘We're the new kids on the block in the central belt, which has brought a surge of interest among potential recruits.’
      • ‘India and China, he says, are the new kids on the block and will outperform the rest of the world because they have whole-heartedly absorbed the new mantra of globalisation.’
      • ‘With too many clubs and not enough punters we had an uphill battle to fill a 3000 + capacity venue, especially when we were the new kids on the block.’
      • ‘But, while the club may be the new kids on the block, they are not wet behind the ears and refuse to take anything for granted or be drawn into rash predictions.’
      • ‘In more than one sense, they're the new kids on the block - a marketing approach that yields benefits and drawbacks.’
      • ‘Forget, all the new kids on the block, few of them are fit enough to even hand him the microphone on stage.’
      • ‘With the new kids on the block, cooking is less about the food you eat than the friends you invite around for dinner.’
      • ‘Hearing these thirteen lads sing though, you would have no idea that they're new kids on the block.’
      • ‘Then you have the new kids on the block where one good performance may elevate them to the top of the heap.’
      • ‘‘They are the new kids on the block and could veto this constitution before they even become a member of the union,’ said one diplomat.’
      novice, starter, learner, student, pupil, trainee, apprentice, probationer
      View synonyms
  • on the (auction) block

    • For sale at auction.

      ‘the original first manuscript for Ravel's Bolero goes on the block today’
      • ‘It would put the presidency right back on the auction block.’
      • ‘Competitors try to drive down the price of policies on the auction block with whispers of whiskey-soaked college days and unconfirmed reports of compromising photos.’
      • ‘The studio is placing props from the film on the block at their online auction house.’
      • ‘At the same time, some of his designs are on the block at an auction in Chicago.’
      • ‘Some owners have a habit of running in with their unpaid taxes paid up minutes before their property goes on the block.’
      • ‘The services of the celebrity painter commanded two winning bids of $25,000 to top a series of unique experiences offered on the auction block.’
      • ‘According to the local paper, the company headquarters - built in 2003 for $12 million - is up on the auction block.’
      • ‘And it likely would go on the auction block again.’
  • put (or lay) one's head (or neck) on the block

    • informal Put one's standing or reputation at risk by proceeding with a particular course of action.

      ‘it's not in your nature to put your head on the block’
      • ‘‘You can't be the scapegoat if you decide yourself to put your head on the block,’ he said.’
      • ‘One thing about the previous commissioner is that he was not afraid to put his neck on the block and say what he believed.’
      • ‘‘I know what I'm talking about because I've been there, so I don't mind putting my neck on the block, ‘he says.’’
      • ‘I've already put my neck on the block and said there is plenty of fish to be had.’
      • ‘If it's not, I will be putting my head on the block again.’
      • ‘But I'd have to to be totally sure that I was on to a winner before putting my head on the block - watched by half the world.’
      • ‘And some people can get a little bit nervous about that because they think they're walking the long mile to put their head on the block, which is wrong.’
      • ‘Councillors often have to make difficult decisions, often putting their head on the block.’
      • ‘I don't want to put my head on the block and say that we will win.’
      • ‘It's a very special boss who puts his head on the block for anyone.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • block something in

    • 1Paint something with solid areas of colour.

      ‘the sunflowers are blocked in with yellow’
      • ‘It starts with a ‘poster study’ of blocked-in areas of color’
      • ‘I blocked in my background colour with a nice aqua green.’
      • ‘When you look at her pastels there seems to be a painterly quality almost completely lacking from her earlier paintings which are either coloured sketches or blocked in areas of flat colour.’
      darken, colour in, pencil in, block in, fill in
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Add something in a unit.
        ‘it's a good idea to block in regular periods of exercise’
        • ‘She now starts every week by blocking in time for. these priorities first, no matter how busy she feels.’
        • ‘It is strongly recommended that trainees be prepared to block in a 24-week period and make the training a top priority in order to receive maximum benefit from the training.’
        • ‘Within your schedule, don’t forget to block in time for meals and rest.’
      2. 1.2Mark something out roughly.
        ‘I often start with no preliminary line but go straight in, blocking in the face and body’
        • ‘I've learned it's best to roughly block everything in first so you can see where everything is going as a whole.’
        • ‘I start off by blocking in large shapes, value, and color.’
        outline, trace, draw the lines of, draw, sketch, block in, mark, mark off, mark out, delimit, mark the boundaries of, mark the limits of
        View synonyms
    • 2Park one's car in such a way as to prevent another car from moving away.

      ‘he blocked in Vera's Mini’
      • ‘Eastwood Park has an entrance at the end of Park Avenue and cars have been parking along the small road, obstructing access and blocking residents in.’
      • ‘They stopped a vehicle in the 20600-block of 48th Street, blocking it in.’
      • ‘Their vehicle was rammed by one of the jeeps, despite the fact it was blocked in by another media vehicle and unable to move.’
      • ‘If you are parking your caravan up for the winter, block it in with other vehicles or park it in such a way that thieves will not be able to tow it away easily.’
      • ‘When they blocked the car in, they discovered that there was indeed a driver, but he couldn't see very well over the dashboard, as he was only 8 years old.’
      • ‘However, as there is such pressure on parking here, many use our car park without permission with the consequence that funerals and weddings can be blocked in.’
      • ‘They are a remarkably cheery bunch, even when their wagons are blocked in back lanes by stupidly parked cars, causing them to reverse for 50 yards or more with barely an inch on either side.’
      • ‘Hence they have no hesitation in parking across another car thereby blocking it in, because ‘They will just be a minute.’’
      • ‘I would ask drivers how they would feel if they were prevented from going to work, doing their shopping or visiting friends by cars parked across their drive or blocking their car in the street.’
      • ‘Once the singer had parked her car in a garage the show's team leapt into action blocking her car in with one of their own.’
  • block something out

    • 1Stop something such as light or noise from reaching somewhere.

      ‘you're blocking out my sun’
      • ‘I groaned, grabbing my pillow and placing it over my ears, blocking all noise out.’
      • ‘Tony is talking, while Davy is trying to block the noise out with his pillow.’
      • ‘I have always been really aware of fires and I knew to shut the door to block the fire out.’
      • ‘Dr Brown said: ‘The sun appears so small from that distance that you could completely block it out with the head of a pin.’’
      • ‘The house is going to block the sunlight out of our south facing gardens.’
      • ‘According to this watch it's only 2:17 pm but there's almost no natural light whatsoever; the sun is blocked out completely by low-hung clouds of industrial smog.’
      • ‘I keep trying to block his voice out of my head, but I can't stop it all the time.’
      • ‘We stopped at 3am, when the cloud cover finally blocked them out.’
      • ‘I usually just block such noises out because in the city there's always some lunatic running around shouting things but for some reason I ran to the cry for help.’
      conceal, hide, screen, keep out, blot out, exclude
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Exclude something unpleasant from one's thoughts or memory.
        ‘they had managed to block out incidents from long ago’
        • ‘Eventually though he managed to block them out and catch some much needed sleep.’
        • ‘He tried to block those memories out, but he couldn't in his nearly unconscious state.’
        • ‘I sighed, wondering why I had chosen to block the memories out in the first place.’
        • ‘Eva bit her lip and tried to block it out of her memory, but it was no use.’
        • ‘They could wind up so traumatized by their actions that blocking the incident out could be their only option.’
        • ‘Maybe we're just blocking it out like a bad memory or premonition.’
        conceal, hide, screen, keep out, blot out, exclude
        View synonyms
    • 2Mark or sketch something out roughly.

      ‘I would block out an area and sketch in the detail’
      • ‘Sometimes, I'll start right on the computer and then have to slow down and block things out on paper to sort things out.’
      • ‘The image is first blocked out and then carved away to create very beautiful and amazing designs and patterns.’
      • ‘I write it down on my steno pad when the idea comes to me, and more or less block it out on paper first.’
      • ‘I designed it by blocking it out on a ‘clean sheet’ using an architect's program.’
      rough, rough out, sketch out, trace out, outline, set out, lay out, delineate, draft
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (denoting a log or tree stump): from Old French bloc (noun), bloquer (verb), from Middle Dutch blok, of unknown ultimate origin.

Pronunciation

block

/blɒk/