Definition of block and tackle in US English:

block and tackle


  • A mechanism consisting of ropes and one or more pulley-blocks, used for lifting or pulling heavy objects.

    • ‘Since the Egyptians made no use of block and tackle methods, or cranes, it is usually assumed that wooden and bronze levers were used to manoeuvre the blocks into position.’
    • ‘There was clearly no time to rig a block and tackle to winch the casualty on board.’
    • ‘A block and tackle can contain as many pulleys as you like, although at some point the amount of friction in the pulley shafts begins to become a significant source of resistance.’
    • ‘When thirty feet of ice stood in their way, they used ice anchors, lines, and a block and tackle to pull the 3,000-pound craft out of the water, across the ice and into the next channel.’
    • ‘We have bent a number of bows using a steam box and a jig with a block and tackle and pulleys to bend them around a form.’
    system of pulleys, hoisting gear, pulley, hoist, crane, winch, davit, windlass, sheave
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block and tackle

/blɑk ænd/