Definition of blockade in English:



  • 1An act or means of sealing off a place to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving.

    ‘there was a blockade of humanitarian aid’
    ‘the police pulled down blockades on the highway’
    • ‘His had been simple - lift the blockade, no questions asked.’
    • ‘In the process maybe you participate in a blockade and prevent politician X from entering forum X.’
    • ‘The Allies' plan was to strangle the German war economy by imposing a blockade while meanwhile building up their own military strength.’
    • ‘This produced angry protest blockades of bin lorries, with local people saying that unless all bins were collected then none would be.’
    • ‘We don't think the economic blockade is going to produce a constructive and desirable result.’
    • ‘However, for a long time the residents showed a reluctance to lift the blockade.’
    • ‘The cotton factory owners were pleading with the government to intervene on the side of the South in order to lift the blockade.’
    • ‘In response, the Soviet Union imposed an economic blockade.’
    • ‘They advanced yard by yard, imposing a strict blockade with barbed wire and blockhouses.’
    • ‘The two were jailed for refusing to give undertakings that they would not defy a court order, by taking part in blockades of refuse lorries.’
    • ‘He demanded their removal and imposed a naval blockade on the delivery of weapons to Cuba.’
    • ‘Because the problem with dirt is that the media had imposed virtually an iron blockade when it came to the really personal stuff.’
    • ‘The blockade meant that lorries attempting to enter or leave the factory were stopped from doing so.’
    • ‘They imposed an economic blockade on the city, forcing people to queue for hours in the heat to enter or leave, and requiring them to show identification in English.’
    • ‘About 500 workers imposed a blockade on the factory on October 14 after being abruptly informed that the plant was closed and the workforce sacked.’
    • ‘With the submarine, the longstanding naval strategy of close blockades of enemy ports had to be abandoned.’
    • ‘We must remember this fact because it refutes the argument that one imposes a blockade, embargo, or sanction as a bloodless and humane way of coercing the leaders of a target country.’
    • ‘The British then imposed a blockade which restricted trade with France and the USA and prevented the movement of French warships at Martinique, and of French gold shipped there.’
    • ‘Throughout 1940 and 1941 the USA tightened an economic blockade of Japan which threatened to cut off most Japanese oil supplies.’
    • ‘The second major contribution of the blockade was that it prevented the South from exploiting its ability to set cotton prices.’
    barricade, barrier, roadblock
    siege, beleaguerment, encirclement
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An obstruction of a physiological or mental function, especially of a biochemical receptor.
      • ‘The mechanism for this benefit is most likely a blockade of aldosterone receptors.’
      • ‘Sexual behavior decreases because of a reduction of plasma testosterone as well as the receptor blockade.’
      • ‘The blockade of these receptors can therefore facilitate dopaminergic transmission by stimulating dopamine release and by potentiating the effects of dopamine receptor stimulation.’
      • ‘One would expect the effect of blockade on airways function to be rapid and indeed the risk ceases to be significant after the first year of exposure.’
      • ‘However, several significant medical contraindications to beta blockade are present.’
      • ‘Interestingly, blockade of this receptor not only seems to affect appetite, but also seems to help with cravings for nicotine.’


  • Seal off (a place) to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving.

    • ‘There they blockaded the access road with vehicles, and when construction workers arrived, denied them access.’
    • ‘But no help came, the baronial forces blockaded the city, and the rebel front began to crumble.’
    • ‘For five days, London traffic ground to a standstill when police blockaded the area.’
    • ‘The Federal ships blockading the port closed as near as they dared and managed to shoot a cannon ball through the Denbigh's wheelhouse.’
    • ‘Police arrested eight protesters blockading the road outside the consulate.’
    • ‘Those charged are accused of blockading the lone road into the reserve and intimidating the community to the point where 400 members felt the need to flee.’
    • ‘The students from the youth activist group blockaded an intersection just outside the central plaza.’
    • ‘One voice in the assembling crowd called out, ‘The government's been blockading this town for too long!’’
    • ‘Several blocks from the building, she found the area was blockaded by police.’
    • ‘The drivers blockaded roads and disrupted traffic in the centre of the city.’
    • ‘Ricardo himself fled before the place was completely blockaded.’
    • ‘Overseas colonies were ruthlessly picked off, and the Republic's ports were blockaded.’
    • ‘The groups have blockaded roads and, in some cases, set fire to vehicles.’
    • ‘Town Hall bosses have criticised residents who blockaded a road after a three-old-boy was involved in an accident with a car.’
    • ‘Ironically, it was the indigenous people who first recognised the impending catastrophe and took action by blockading logging roads - only to be jailed in large numbers by the authorities.’
    • ‘But the Americans blockaded the road and refused to let people enter.’
    • ‘Thirty people were arrested for blockading the street outside the convention by locking themselves together around organic plants and symbols of an environmentally sustainable future.’
    • ‘For 900 days the city was blockaded by the Nazi's and the sight of a book about another siege brought back memories.’
    • ‘Protesters responded by blockading the streets, piling rocks and logs onto roads.’
    • ‘Over the weekend peace activists blockaded the road and entered the plant, which is near Reading.’
    barricade, close up, block off, shut off, seal, bar
    besiege, lay siege to, beleaguer, beset, surround
    View synonyms


  • run a blockade

    • (of a ship) manage to enter or leave a blockaded port.

      • ‘It is so desperate that they will risk running a blockade without any support since there is no other chance of their survival.’
      • ‘So they will actually be able to run a blockade if they come across one.’
      • ‘During the Spanish American War the ‘Adula’ was seized June 29, 1898 by the U.S. cruiser ‘Marblehead’ for attempting to run a blockade at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.’
      • ‘At first, Russia wanted the entire city - they even ran a blockade to claim it, but the division was finally allowed.’
      • ‘He was captured while running a blockade off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and placed in an army prison at Point Lookout, Maryland.’
      • ‘Fifty-seven suspects trying to run a blockade were arrested on the ship.’
      • ‘Since his health had not completely returned and his education had not been completed he ran a blockade and went to Europe.’
      • ‘Our soldiers battled for Stalingrad, ran a blockade of Leningrad, set free our land and peoples of Europe from fascism, stormed Berlin under the red flag of our powerful country.’
      • ‘Fourthly, more and more foreigners used Beijing as their springboard to run a blockade to the third country.’
      • ‘If the neutral ship owner tries to run a blockade and is caught, his property suffers penalty, just as dealers trying to introduce provisions into a besieged town would lose their venture.’


Late 17th century: from block + -ade, probably influenced by ambuscade.