Definition of block in US 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’
    • ‘Alex indicated a small, wooden block embedded in the stone floor.’
    • ‘The upper guide had a steel roller at the back of the saw with hard maple side blocks.’
    • ‘It is unfashionable to say so, but there is something powerfully evocative about this block of stone.’
    • ‘There, as it had been during his initial inspection, was a stone block wall just as solid as any other in the castle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All the features, including stone blocks, wooden and steel doors and even the ironmongery, were hand-carved by the company's craft experts.’
    • ‘Other materials for terraces include bricks, rocks, concrete blocks, and similar masonry materials.’
    • ‘Now it resembled a low fortress wall with blocks of stone evenly cut and dressed, and white lines to guide devotees on moonless nights.’
    • ‘These huge, isolated blocks of rock look as though they should not be there.’
    • ‘We waited two more months, saving enough to purchase 1,500 concrete blocks for the basement walls.’
    • ‘It is hoped to build a block wall faced with stone as soon as possible.’
    • ‘This guy has built various mathematical surfaces from lego blocks and some of them look amazingly intricate.’
    • ‘The strapping is used for a wide range of materials such as bricks, blocks, briquettes and tiles.’
    • ‘One of the beds is even held up by a stack of wooden blocks!’
    • ‘In their traditional form, glass blocks are set like bricks or concrete blocks - one block at a time in slow, carefully constructed rows.’
    • ‘The surface of gravel or blocks set on stone provides another permeable layer.’
    • ‘Common building materials are concrete blocks and bricks.’
    • ‘You're going to need a paved surface, concrete blocks, Tarmac even, so the delivery vehicles can get to the shops by the river.’
    • ‘Its walls are made of solid stone blocks weighing over sixty tons each.’
    chunk, hunk, brick, slab, lump, piece
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sturdy, flat-topped block used as a work surface, typically for chopping food.
      • ‘Extracting a block of wood and a knife he held it up to her from his seat on the floor.’
      • ‘She took out a large knife from the cutting block and sliced a piece of cheese, promptly eating one.’
    2. 1.2British 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A large conference table and whiteboard occupied one side of the room; the other side was filled with desks, notebooks and drawing blocks.’
      • ‘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
    3. 1.3usually blocks Any of a set of solid cubes used as a child's toy.
    4. 1.4usually blocks A starting block.
      ‘the thrust a sprinter gets when coming out of the blocks’
      • ‘The excitement was almost palpable as Michael stepped on the blocks on Day One for his first race, the 200 meter individual medley.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As she blasted out of the blocks in the 400 metres in the European Championships last week, it looked like she might make qualification.’
      • ‘In 1984 at the Olympic Games, I was no better than fifth when I stepped on the blocks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We were slow out of the blocks against Italy but we expected a difficult game anyway in Rome.’
      • ‘She blasted out of the blocks and immediately established her dominance over the other runners.’
      • ‘Galway were out of the blocks quicker in the second half.’
      • ‘He will now step up to the blocks to swim the 200, together with the 400 and 1500 free in the forthcoming games.’
      • ‘Starting at the 10th hole on the final day, he shot out of the blocks, birdying the 11th and 12th.’
      • ‘The timers backed away as she stepped up to the block, for they knew Sally was now focused on the swimmers and the clock.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Mayo roared out of the blocks and built up a commanding lead.’
      • ‘The sprinters get out of the blocks in the 100m as Oxford produce a superb overall team performance in the FEAR competition against Cambridge’
      • ‘Less and less are we seeing these gleaming muscular models that step into the blocks looking more like bodybuilders than runners, particularly the women!’
      • ‘So he mounted the blocks in his resplendent blue trunks and did a massive belly flop on the starters gun.’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5Printing A piece of wood or metal engraved for printing on paper or fabric.
      • ‘The artist could carve an image onto wooden or metal blocks, ink the block and impress it on paper.’
      • ‘For multi-color printing several blocks had to be carved - one for each color.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The goal is to provide practical experience about block printing and registration of blocks.’
      • ‘The printing blocks are made of wood, metal and other materials.’
    6. 1.6 The main body of an internal combustion engine, containing the pistons.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Descending the reef again, I came across the engine block and crankshaft.’
      • ‘These are bolted to the engine block and sealed with the aforementioned head gasket.’
      • ‘There was an expensive shriek of metal being crushed and the steam roller rose almost a full eight inches before the engine block shattered.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In addition, there is room above the crank to isolate the camshaft in a cast tubular chamber - making the cylinder block stiffer.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, he says it may be possible to introduce a common cylinder block for gasoline and diesel engines within five years.’
      • ‘Another was scraping resin off the engine block, to find some sort of identifying numbers.’
      • ‘Water doesn't compress and the piston in effect hits a wall, bending or breaking a con rod and possibly shattering the engine block.’
      • ‘Your engine block could freeze in the subzero winter temperatures - which seem to last from September to mid-June.’
      • ‘In addition there is a danger that freezing of water and the consequent expansion might even crack the radiator or the engine block.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It doesn't, however, have an aluminum engine block.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The engine block and cylinder head are made of cast aluminium.’
      • ‘These include a raised capacity, new cylinder block, pistons and crankshaft.’
      • ‘For example, an automobile engine block is normally cast iron except for some which might be cast aluminum.’
      • ‘You need a piston, a manifold, then you need an engine block, a carburetor, a distributer, this that and the other thing.’
      • ‘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 mold used for shaping hats or wigs.
  • 2British A large single building subdivided into separate rooms, apartments, or offices.

    ‘an apartment block’
    • ‘The apartments will be in two blocks separated by a newly - created close, continuing the use of The Old Fish Market Close.’
    • ‘The third phase will involve the demolition of three accommodation blocks to make room for two new ones.’
    • ‘A five-storey block incorporating offices and flats will now go ahead following the decision by councillors last week.’
    • ‘Whether you opt for a single flat or whole block, though, choosing where to buy can require some careful research.’
    • ‘Members ignored officers' advice and said two three-storey blocks of flats would have an adverse impact on neighbouring homes through overdevelopment.’
    • ‘The scheme, which includes terraced homes and three-storey blocks of flats, has already been given permission in principle.’
    • ‘On the north, the block contains a wooden staircase to the gallery and terrace, and bath- and shower-rooms.’
    • ‘There would be 182 one and two-bedroom flats separated into three four-storey blocks on the site.’
    • ‘Sportsmen and women will be accommodated mainly two to a room in 32 blocks in six student halls of residence.’
    • ‘Now the firm has drawn up a new scheme for two seven-storey blocks of flats and a three-storey shopping and office complex.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In contrast, most British residential blocks of flats were built by local authorities in the 1950s - 70s.’
    • ‘The church still stands, now surrounded by office buildings and blocks of flats, and looking rather small among its neighbours.’
    • ‘We now have a ‘box’ (actually bag) recycling scheme in our block for textiles, paper, cardboard, glass and tins.’
    • ‘But now there are plans to knock down the 1960s building and put three blocks of flats in its place.’
    • ‘There must be some residential development in the area but we don't want blocks of flats or offices.’
    • ‘Terraces and higher blocks of residential with offices on lower storeys, with 10 acre park on podium.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 library building will be ripped down and replaced with a block of 29 sheltered accommodation flats and a new ground floor library.’
    building, complex, structure, development
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with modifier A building or part of a complex used for a particular purpose.
      ‘a cell block’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A new roof and boilers are needed, along with new toilet and shower blocks.’
      • ‘They walked inside the front entrance together and then went their separate ways to form rooms about two school blocks apart.’
      • ‘A women's centre and an urban prayer garden complete the Cathedral block.’
      • ‘They all have static caravans, some with their own showers - and if not, there are shower blocks.’
      • ‘A new roof and heating system are among the priorities, as are upgraded toilet and shower blocks.’
      • ‘But the school burned down and many classrooms and hostel blocks were completely destroyed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was a shower block for which you had to queue.’
      • ‘The College has been granted planning permission to develop student housing blocks on their grounds.’
      • ‘Block E is the smallest block and is located along the Eastern boundary, adjacent to the rear of the Courthouse.’
      • ‘The completion of the science block is not the end of developments at the School.’
      • ‘The fire started in a manure heap on their farm, engulfed a trailer and looked set to spread along the stable block.’
      • ‘Meters have been re-connected in 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      building, complex, structure, development
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2North American The area bounded by four streets in a town or suburb.
      ‘ours was the ugliest house on the block’
      ‘she went for a run around the block’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the block where I lived, I remember seeing a young woman hunched over in pain, weeping hysterically.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Regular maintenance of the street ended after three blocks and the area beyond looked rougher.’
      • ‘The Trust owns about 70 percent of four blocks in that area.’
      • ‘As a result, he photographed and described street blocks and individual houses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Somebody's already started going around my block in an ice cream van - before the daffodils are even certain of themselves yet.’
      • ‘Just down the street from me, for example, there's a block with several boarded-up houses on it.’
      • ‘The houses were arranged in blocks, with four houses to every side of a block.’
      • ‘In particular, there is concern over several blocks along Fifth and Forbes Avenues in the center of town.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One of the residents said the area's council blocks had been transformed since the project started.’
      • ‘Long lines of cars, taxis and buses coiled around city blocks and suburban streets.’
    3. 2.3North American The length of one side of a town block, typically as a measure of distance.
      ‘he lives a few blocks away from the museum’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nora was walking down the street a couple of blocks away from my house.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She made her way to the corner store four blocks from her house.’
      • ‘Broadway is a few blocks distant but worlds away from the cultural corridor along Grand Avenue.’
      • ‘In no time at all the said queue stretched the entire length of the block.’
      • ‘A vigil every 20 blocks for the whole length of Manhattan.’
      • ‘I'm pretty sure you can obtain all those things within 2 or 3 blocks along Melrose Blvd. in Hollywood.’
      • ‘They could hear the noise from the crowd when they were a block away, along with the sounds of the band tuning up.’
      • ‘We walked along the piers seven blocks then up the hill to the Pike Street Market.’
      • ‘They walked up the four blocks to the coffee house.’
      • ‘She sat sullenly the last three blocks, tension mounting within her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And the water can enter the system from an area three, four blocks, a mile away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Interior hallways run nearly the length of a city block, and could have resembled an endless, generic motel corridor.’
      • ‘It's five blocks to the mall in the opposite direction from the school, four blocks past my house.’
      • ‘At about the same time, a few blocks from Mrs. Rider, a woman and her children awoke and began vomiting.’
  • 3A large quantity or allocation of things regarded as a unit.

    ‘a block of shares’
    as modifier ‘block grants’
    • ‘These items were added as a block to the entire questionnaire.’
    • ‘All subjects completed five blocks of 15 learning trials.’
    • ‘Each subject completed 10 blocks of 10 practice trials.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All of the participants completed both blocks with the order of completion counterbalanced across participants.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each participant completed three blocks of 120 trials, one for each of the difficulty levels.’
    • ‘These spirals were three and four years long each, so for all intents and purposes they were blocks.’
    • ‘A block of 55,500 Petrol shares was sold at 14.31 and another 129,500 shares at 14.32.’
    • ‘Each block or placement is completed in a different facility.’
    • ‘The expressions were ordered in a random way rather than in blocks of expressions with the same algebraic structure.’
    • ‘The order of presentation of these blocks was completely randomized across participants.’
    • ‘The surgical suite allocates Dr Jones two eight-hour blocks per week to complete his elective cases.’
    • ‘If he has completed his initial block, he keeps moving, looking for someone else to hit.’
    • ‘You will most likely sleep in two hour blocks at completely random times throughout the day.’
    batch, group, cluster, set, section, quantity, series
    View synonyms
    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.’
    2. 3.2 An unseparated unit of at least four postage stamps in at least two rows, generally a group of four.
      • ‘A beautiful new block of four U.S. stamps pays tribute to an amazing founding father in his roles as Statesman, Scientist, Printer and Postmaster.’
      • ‘I would like to give you a little more information about the block of stamps I have up for sale.’
      • ‘Blocks of stamps from the edges of the original sheet or pane often include sections of the sheet's margin, which may have a wide variety of information.’
  • 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’
    • ‘I refuse to believe that the colour of my skin is a block to achieving whatever I want to be.’
    • ‘Maybe he has a writing block because he doesn't smoke.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘The public system as a whole is seen as a block to that market.’
    • ‘It had just become too expensive (and was becoming a block to ‘free’ trade).’
    • ‘The writing block that plagued him for years has started to lift.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Indeed, I fear that serial co-habitation could actually be a block to marriage with parties becoming afraid of making the commitment.’
    • ‘A high-profile civil case would mean lurid newspaper headlines and act as a block to any possibility of restarting a television career.’
    • ‘But you put up mental and emotional blocks around your mind.’
    • ‘If you break the rules of existence, there's usually a block to progress until you have connected things.’
    • ‘It goes to reinforce my jaded view that the media are a block to reasoned public debate, the open society, and education.’
    • ‘The major problem that emerges is voltage leaks, which cause the chip to heat up considerably and ultimately put a block on progress.’
    obstacle, obstruction, bar, barrier, impediment, hindrance, check, hurdle, stumbling block
    blockage, obstruction, stoppage, stopping up, clot, occlusion
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 (in sports) a hindering or stopping of an opponent's movement or action.
      • ‘There's a flip side, though: One big shot or a great block will inspire this guy like no one else.’
      • ‘He can pull on running plays and screens and get downfield to throw a block.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Moss, meanwhile, began running out every pattern, even when he was a decoy, and he started throwing blocks downfield.’
      • ‘He was the bulldozer for college football's most punishing running attack, with the pancake block being his trademark.’
      • ‘Lunge, parry, head block… all the movements of sword fighting were familiar to her.’
      • ‘When it comes to communicating the importance of a movement, a block, a play, or a game, Davis has few equals.’
      • ‘Driver caught seven passes for 78 yards and executed several downfield blocks.’
      • ‘He is very good in space, whether it's pulling on wide plays or getting a downfield block.’
      • ‘As the two fighters once again clashed, their movements became faster and more intense with each block.’
      • ‘This also limits his ability to make downfield blocks on linebackers.’
      • ‘Wand has long arms, but he doesn't use them to his advantage to gain leverage and maintain blocks.’
      • ‘Bell is usually the first one downfield on punts, fighting through blocks and disrupting the return.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His exceptional quickness and agility allow him to get downfield and make blocks at the second level of the defense.’
      • ‘He is smart, quick and agile enough to make blocks downfield, but lacks the initial pop to be an outstanding guard.’
      • ‘Dilger doesn't hesitate to sell out on a block downfield or on the line.’
      • ‘A sure-fire way to get beat is to be thinking about the last block rather than focusing on the next.’
      • ‘He's not quick enough to defeat blocks in the run game to pursue backside running plays and is a liability in coverage.’
    2. 4.2Tennis A shot in which the racket is held stationary rather than being swung back, especially a stop volley.
      • ‘Young players are infatuated with rejecting a shot with a block, and they pay for it continuously.’
      • ‘There is no swing, but a block from the shoulder without follow-through.’
    3. 4.3 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.’
  • 5A flat area of something, especially a solid area of color.

    ‘cover the eyelid with a neutral block of color’
    • ‘The ink of the fixing agent is subsequently overprinted on the above block of colour in the required image.’
    • ‘The visual system of the tsetse fly is particularly sensitive to large blocks of contrasting color.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Women don't want a block of colour, especially not black after all this mourning.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 6A pulley or system of pulleys mounted in a case.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is a hoist for lifting appliances, and more specifically a block-and-pulley arrangement, or a block-and-tackle arrangement.’
  • 7informal A person's head.

    ‘“I'll knock your block off,” he said’
    • ‘He paid out a large sum of money to a number of his creditors because they had threatened to ‘knock his block off’ if he did not pay them.’
    • ‘Which sides will win and which will get their blocks knocked off?’
    • ‘That's where they get their blocks knocked off.’

verb

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

    ‘block up the holes with sticky tape’
    ‘a blocked nose’
    ‘a police cordon blocked off roads’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As well as blocking the hospital drive there have been problems with cars blocking the road and parking in the driveways of houses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In those cases, the fuelers usually set up on a major road that was blocked off for fueling operations.’
    • ‘They cannot risk the frequent delivery delays that occur when the motorway is blocked by road works or accidents.’
    • ‘She was blocking the road and cars behind her and in front of her were unable to move.’
    • ‘New Street was blocked off and police diverted traffic onto High Street.’
    • ‘‘The parked cars block the road and leave nowhere for anyone to pull in,’ he said.’
    • ‘The second trailer remained upright as the truck slid to the wrong side of the road, blocking the highway.’
    • ‘But police radioed ahead and blocked off the narrow road with a police pick-up truck, finally bringing the Toyota to a stop.’
    • ‘A truck parked in the middle of the narrow street blocked the road.’
    • ‘Emergency services were called and the road was blocked off.’
    • ‘Major roads were blocked off, threatening huge traffic disruption.’
    • ‘We turned right and, sure enough, the road was blocked and the car park boarded off and derelict.’
    • ‘A group of young men hanging out in the middle of the road blocked her passage.’
    • ‘They literally bulldozed aside the police cars blocking the road.’
    • ‘A waste disposal lorry and a pick-up truck crashed on a narrow bridge, blocking a main road.’
    • ‘A portion of this tube may be causing you difficulty due to narrowing or a growth blocking the passage of food and liquids.’
    • ‘All the street was blocked off and there were so many people outside.’
    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 administration tried to block an agreement on farm subsidies’
      • ‘She heard him curse softly and then he shifted his wait, effectively blocking her attempt at freedom.’
      • ‘Known as ‘the nuclear option’, the Democrats blocked the attempt.’
      • ‘New temporary barriers have been installed to block any other attempts by vehicles to cross the bridge.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Can you blame the Senate blocking his half-baked attempts at policy formulation?’
      • ‘Fortunately I think our firewall had been blocking the access attempts, but the popup ads were still happening.’
      • ‘But this Council finds the idea distasteful and is blocking every attempt to find a suitable location.’
      • ‘The management has consistently refused to grant concessions on economic issues and has worked to block attempts at employee organization.’
      • ‘She was overjoyed at this but as she tried to merge with it something powerful blocked her attempts.’
      • ‘The company initially tried to block attempts by this newspaper last week to inspect parts of its shareholder register, a public document.’
      • ‘Opposition Conservative MPs blocked an attempt by the government to fine the companies $250,000 a day for contempt of Parliament.’
      • ‘Under the ancien régime these two powerful groups had often blocked princely attempts to rationalize and centralize the administration.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Given they both own more than 25% of shares, either side could block a takeover attempt by the other.’
      • ‘But when injuries are less obvious or workers seem uncooperative, companies often block every attempt to seek benefits.’
      • ‘His replacement as senior consultant blocks an attempt for him to be awarded emeritus status.’
      hinder, hamper, obstruct, impede, inhibit, check, arrest, restrict, limit, deter, curb, interrupt
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Restrict the use or conversion of (currency or any other asset).
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The U.S. has rallied 120 nations to block assets of suspected terrorist groups.’
      • ‘This has been blamed for blocking overseas-bound investment by mainland enterprises.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By building up a sizeable stake they will control enough equity in the company to block a compulsory takeover by another bidder.’
      • ‘Foreign financial institutions are required to block the funds and assets of such groups.’
      • ‘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’.’
    3. 1.3 (in sports) hinder or stop the movement or action of (an opponent, a ball, etc.).
      • ‘He could block opponents, he could kick, he could pass.’
      • ‘He is a very good athlete who can block shots and has a good shooting stroke.’
      • ‘There is some skill required, as you want to rearrange the cards in order to block your opponent from gaining points.’
      • ‘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 showed her techniques on how to block or attack the opponent.’
      • ‘Of course it's best if you can block another opponent while advancing yourself at the same time.’
      • ‘He has such explosive leaping ability he can block anyone's shot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't believe in trying to force a technique that an opponent is blocking - that is just a waste of energy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every single one of his intended blows was blocked and parried, even when the man tripped and fell backwards.’
      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
    4. 1.4Bridge Play in such a way that an opponent cannot establish (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.’
    5. 1.5Medicine Produce insensibility in (a part of the body) by injecting an anesthetic close to the nerves that supply it.
      • ‘Pinching the skin stimulates local sensory nerves, partially blocking the transmission of other painful stimuli.’
      • ‘Local anesthetic agents block pain transmission by interfering with nerve cell depolarization of peripheral pain fibers.’
      • ‘This is a condition in which the optic nerve sustains damage because its blood supply is blocked.’
      • ‘Genistein, found in soybeans, has the ability to literally starve tumors to death by blocking their blood supply.’
      • ‘The gene would still be there, but the drug blocks the body from turning on the disease process.’
  • 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) using a wooden mold.

    • ‘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).’
  • 4Design or plan the movements of actors on a stage or movie set.

    • ‘Stylistically, the writing takes some mature risks, and both actresses are uninhibited and bold enough to carry those words through some playful blocking.’
    • ‘He has added a rehearsal studio to his home, which he and cast-mates recently used to choreograph and block their moves’
    • ‘Generally, I ‘block’ the show in my head prior to rehearsal.’
    • ‘Konarak strums his guitar before a shamiana where the actors block their moves, test their lines.’
    • ‘But, in stage blocking, you have to remember where you are for the entire three hours that the show runs.’
    • ‘The stage version clearly needs blocking as there is a limited space on which to do the entire show.’

Phrases

  • have been around the block (a few times)

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many new breakthrough artists flung into the scene providing steady competition for the bands that have been around the block and back.’
      • ‘You might say Nick has been around the block once or twice when it comes to online culture and community.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hey, it's all about experience, really, and he's been around the block a few times.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Though 25 years his junior, Ethel gives off the aura of having been around the block 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.’
  • the new kid on the block

    • informal A newcomer to a particular place or sphere of activity, typically someone who has yet to prove themselves.

      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘We're the new kids on the block in the central belt, which has brought a surge of interest among potential recruits.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hearing these thirteen lads sing though, you would have no idea that they're new kids on the block.’
      • ‘With the new kids on the block, cooking is less about the food you eat than the friends you invite around for dinner.’
      • ‘Forget, all the new kids on the block, few of them are fit enough to even hand him the microphone on stage.’
      • ‘Then you have the new kids on the block where one good performance may elevate them to the top of the heap.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      figurative ‘the company put its subsidiary on the block because it did not fit its core business interests’
      • ‘The studio is placing props from the film on the block at their online auction house.’
      • ‘And it likely would go on the auction block again.’
      • ‘According to the local paper, the company headquarters - built in 2003 for $12 million - is up on the auction block.’
      • ‘It would put the presidency right back on the auction block.’
      • ‘At the same time, some of his designs are on the block at an auction in Chicago.’
      • ‘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 services of the celebrity painter commanded two winning bids of $25,000 to top a series of unique experiences offered on the auction block.’
      • ‘Some owners have a habit of running in with their unpaid taxes paid up minutes before their property goes on the block.’
  • 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One thing about the previous commissioner is that he was not afraid to put his neck on the block and say what he believed.’
      • ‘It's a very special boss who puts his head on the block for anyone.’
      • ‘‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘You can't be the scapegoat if you decide yourself to put your head on the block,’ he said.’
      • ‘I don't want to put my head on the block and say that we will win.’
      • ‘Councillors often have to make difficult decisions, often putting their head on the block.’
      • ‘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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • block something in

    • 1Mark something out roughly.

      • ‘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
      1. 1.1Add something in a unit.
        ‘it's a good idea to block in regular periods of exercise’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘She now starts every week by blocking in time for. these priorities first, no matter how busy she feels.’
      2. 1.2Paint something with solid areas of color.
        • ‘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
    • 2Park one's car in such a way as to prevent another car from moving away.

      ‘he blocked in Vera's minivan’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They stopped a vehicle in the 20600-block of 48th Street, blocking it in.’
      • ‘Hence they have no hesitation in parking across another car thereby blocking it in, because ‘They will just be a minute.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their vehicle was rammed by one of the jeeps, despite the fact it was blocked in by another media vehicle and unable to move.’
  • block something out

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

      ‘you're blocking out my sun’
      • ‘Tony is talking, while Davy is trying to block the noise out with his pillow.’
      • ‘We stopped at 3am, when the cloud cover finally blocked them out.’
      • ‘I have always been really aware of fires and I knew to shut the door to block the fire 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dr Brown said: ‘The sun appears so small from that distance that you could completely block it out with the head of a pin.’’
      • ‘I groaned, grabbing my pillow and placing it over my ears, blocking all noise out.’
      • ‘The house is going to block the sunlight out of our south facing gardens.’
      conceal, hide, screen, keep out, blot out, exclude
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Exclude something unpleasant from one's thoughts or memory.
        • ‘Maybe we're just blocking it out like a bad memory or premonition.’
        • ‘Eventually though he managed to block them out and catch some much needed sleep.’
        • ‘Eva bit her lip and tried to block it out of her memory, but it was no use.’
        • ‘I sighed, wondering why I had chosen to block the memories out in the first place.’
        • ‘They could wind up so traumatized by their actions that blocking the incident out could be their only option.’
        • ‘He tried to block those memories out, but he couldn't in his nearly unconscious state.’
        conceal, hide, screen, keep out, blot out, exclude
        View synonyms
    • 2Mark or sketch something out roughly.

      • ‘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

/bläk//blɑk/