block

noun, often attributive
\ ˈbläk How to pronounce block (audio) \

Definition of block

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a compact usually solid piece of substantial material especially when worked or altered to serve a particular purpose a block of ice blocks of cheese : such as
a : the piece of wood on which the neck of a person condemned to be beheaded is laid for execution put her neck on the block
b : a mold or form on which articles are shaped or displayed a wooden hat block
c : a hollow rectangular building unit usually of artificial material a wall of concrete blocks
d : a lightweight usually cubical and solid wooden or plastic building toy that is usually provided in sets children playing with blocks
e : the casting that contains the cylinders of an internal combustion engine engine block
f sports : starting block the first swimmer off the blocks a slow start out of the blocks
2a : obstacle putting a block on any future development
b sports : an obstruction of an opponent's play especially, football : a halting or impeding of the progress or movement of an opponent by use of the body a block by the right tackle
c medical
(1) : interruption of normal physiological function (as of a tissue or organ) especially : heart block The patient presented with a block.
(2) : local anesthesia (as by injection) produced by interruption of the flow of impulses along a nerve
d psychology : interruption or cessation especially of train of thought by competing thoughts or psychological suppression a mental block an emotional block — compare writer's block
3 slang : head sense 1 threatened to knock his block off
4 : a wooden or metal case enclosing one or more pulleys and having a hook, eye, or strap by which it may be attached
5 : a piece of material (such as wood or linoleum) having on its surface a hand-cut design from which impressions are to be printed wooden blocks used for printing books
6a(1) : a usually rectangular space (as in a city) enclosed by streets and occupied by or intended for buildings She lived on our block.
(2) : the distance along one of the sides of such a block The store is two blocks down on the right. lived a block away from the school
b(1) : a large building divided into separate functional units an apartment block
(2) : a line of row houses
(3) : a distinctive part of a building or integrated group of buildings a block of classrooms
7 : a platform from which property is sold at auction went on the block and sold for nearly three million dollars
8a : a quantity, number, or section of things dealt with as a unit bought a large block of shares a half-hour block of music a block of text
b : bloc sense 2 popular among several voting blocks
around the block
: through many experiences used especially to say that someone is no longer young or has become knowledgeable, capable, or mature because of past experience… it seemed possible that to fall for a woman who had been around the block a few times might be to rob himself of much of the purely ornamental elements … of first love.— Michael Chabon
on the block
: for sale The business is now on the block.

block

verb
blocked; blocking; blocks

Definition of block (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to make unsuitable for passage or progress by obstruction The road was blocked by a rock slide.
b archaic : blockade … a city … besieged and blocked about …— John Milton
c : to hinder the passage, progress, or accomplishment of by or as if by interposing an obstruction The ambulance was blocked by traffic. senators trying to block passage of the bill
d : to shut off from view The building blocks our view of the ocean.
e : to interfere usually legitimately with (an opponent, an opponent's shot, etc.) in various games or sports practice blocking our opponents blocked the shot with her hand
f : to prevent normal functioning or action of block a nerve with novocaine
g : to restrict the exchange of (currency, checks, etc.)
2 : to mark or indicate the outline or chief lines of block out a design
3 : to shape on, with, or as if with a block (see block entry 1 sense 1b) block a hat
4 : to secure, support, or provide with a block (see block entry 1 sense 1) blocking a plate for printing block up the rear wheels
5 : to work out (the principal positions and movements) for the performers (as of a play) also : to work out the players' positions and movements for (a scene or a play) often used with out block out a scene before the actors arrive on set
6 typesetting : to make (two or more lines of writing or type) flush at the left or at both left and right
7 golf : to hit (a ball or shot) inaccurately toward the right from a right-handed swing or toward the left from a left-handed swing : push … you get excited, don't finish your backswing and block your next drive into the foliage.— Thomas Boswell

intransitive verb

sports : to interfere usually legitimately with an opponent : to block an opponent needs to practice blocking

Block

biographical name
\ ˈbläk How to pronounce Block (audio) \

Definition of Block (Entry 3 of 3)

Herbert Lawrence 1909–2001 Herblock \ ˈhər-​ˌbläk How to pronounce Block (audio) \ American editorial cartoonist

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from block

Verb

blocker noun

Choose the Right Synonym for block

Verb

hinder, impede, obstruct, block mean to interfere with the activity or progress of. hinder stresses causing harmful or annoying delay or interference with progress. rain hindered the climb impede implies making forward progress difficult by clogging, hampering, or fettering. tight clothing that impedes movement obstruct implies interfering with something in motion or in progress by the sometimes intentional placing of obstacles in the way. the view was obstructed by billboards block implies complete obstruction to passage or progress. a landslide blocked the road

Examples of block in a Sentence

Noun a wall built out of concrete blocks We took a walk around the block. She lived on our block. The store is three blocks down on the right. Our hotel is a block from the ocean. Verb There's an accident blocking the road. The entrance was blocked by a gate. Blood clots have completely blocked one of his arteries. The protesters blocked the road with parked vehicles. The ambulance was blocked by cars in the road. An accident was blocking traffic. Could you move to the left, please. You're blocking my light. a shield that blocks the wind Several senators are trying to block the passage of the bill. His vote blocked the treaty.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates gave this account: Antonio Leon Ellison, 54, of Birmingham, was walking in the 400 block of 3rd Avenue West Friday at 10:03 p.m. when he was struck by a pickup truck. al, "3 killed in Jefferson County traffic accidents identified," 13 July 2020 The elder Volobuev was found dead during a welfare check Friday morning in the 16300 block of Southeast Foster Road. oregonlive, "Woman arrested on suspicion of stabbing mother to death, Portland police say," 13 July 2020 Jose Yaxon Cuc, of Northwest Washington, died around 6 p.m. Friday in the 4900 block of North Capitol Street NE, near Fort Totten, police said in a statement. Washington Post, "Local digest: Two fatally shot in D.C., adding to an already violent month," 12 July 2020 The program does not allow for block parties, bar crawls or street festivals. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee street closings to create outdoor restaurant space passed by Common Council," 16 June 2020 This will not be a summer of 12-hour beach days, or block parties, or wanderlust. Michelle Santiago Cortés, refinery29.com, "Newly Approved Rosé Prosecco Is Going To Be The Summer Drink Of 2021," 28 May 2020 Ever since Black and Latino Americans created hip-hop at south Bronx block parties during the 1970s, this highly original, uniquely American music has continued to evolve, while simultaneously taking root in countless countries throughout the world. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Power and Business of Hip-Hop: A Reading List on an American Art Form," 12 Sep. 2010 Indianapolis Metropolitan Police responded to the scene of a fatal shooting Sunday night in the 2600 block of North Harding Street. Brooke Kemp, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis crime: Police respond to fatal shooting on northwest side," 13 July 2020 Her block parties look a little different than the one in Allendale, but many of the same people were there, and were there for the same reason. CBS News, "Rebuilding caring communities, block by block," 12 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The colt has had a history of struggling to maintain focus, and was wearing blinkers on Thursday night to block out distractions, trainer Jeff Runco said. NBC News, "West Virginia horse decides he wants to go home — before the race ends," 10 July 2020 On May 1, the governor of New Mexico evoked the riot act to block off all exits into Gallup to stop the spread of the virus, and only residents could get in. Sunny Dooley, Scientific American, "Coronavirus is Attacking the Navajo 'Because We Have Built the Perfect Human for it to Invade'," 8 July 2020 Kelete drove around other cars that had parked to block off the highway around 1:40 a.m. local time. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Seattle protester dies after being hit by vehicle during demonstration on closed highway," 5 July 2020 Eventually, police cars showed up to block off parts of Washington Street around the demonstrators until the crowd began their march back to the park. Brooke Kemp, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis protests: Allies gather to demand change, show unity," 30 June 2020 With no final approval, Bolton went ahead with publishing this month, and the government sought an injunction to block him. David Yaffe-bellany, Bloomberg.com, "Bolton Book Fight Shows Flaws in U.S. System to Protect Secrets," 27 June 2020 An outer fence was later erected to block off Southwest Main Street between the jail and the federal courthouse next door. oregonlive, "Crews remove remaining portion of fence at Justice Center in downtown Portland," 26 June 2020 Johnson voted like most of his GOP colleagues to advance the bill and Baldwin voting like most Democrats to block it. Oren Oppenheim, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin voters, like their representatives, are split by party on police overhaul," 26 June 2020 And then of course, when Lincoln was assassinated, that image of the Great Emancipator did help block out the state’s history with slavery. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica, "Slavery Existed in Illinois, but Schools Don’t Always Teach That History," 19 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'block.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of block

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1602, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for block

Noun and Verb

Middle English blok, from Middle French & Middle Dutch; Middle French bloc, from Middle Dutch blok; akin to Old High German bloh block

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about block

Time Traveler for block

Time Traveler

The first known use of block was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for block

Last Updated

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Block.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/block. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for block

block

noun
How to pronounce Block (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of block

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a solid piece of material (such as rock or wood) that has flat sides and is usually square or rectangular in shape
: an area of land surrounded by four streets in a city
US : the length of one city block

block

verb

English Language Learners Definition of block (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be placed in front of (something, such as a road or path) so that people or things cannot pass through
: to place something in front of (something, such as a road) so that people or things cannot go into the area
: to stop (someone or something) from moving through or going by

block

noun
\ ˈbläk How to pronounce block (audio) \

Kids Definition of block

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a solid piece of some material usually with one or more flat sides a block of ice
2 : an area of land surrounded by four streets in a city
3 : the length of one side of a city block
4 : a number of things thought of as forming a group or unit a block of seats
5 : a large building divided into separate houses or shops an apartment block
6 : an action that stops or slows down an opponent (as in football)
7 : something that prevents a person from thinking about certain things a mental block
8 : something that stops or makes passage or progress difficult : obstruction
9 : a case enclosing one or more pulleys

block

verb
blocked; blocking

Kids Definition of block (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to stop or make passage through or through to difficult : obstruct A gate blocked the entrance.
2 : to stop or make the passage of difficult An accident is blocking traffic. Opponents blocked the bill in Congress.
3 : to make an opponent's movement (as in football) difficult

block

noun, often attributive
\ ˈbläk How to pronounce block (audio) \

Medical Definition of block

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : interruption of normal physiological function of a tissue or organ respiratory block due to carbon monoxide especially : heart block
3 : interruption of a train of thought by competing thoughts or psychological suppression

Medical Definition of block (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to prevent normal functioning of (a bodily element) block a nerve with novocaine
2 : to obstruct the effect of a carboxyl group blocked by esterification

intransitive verb

: to experience or exhibit psychological blocking or blockage

Other Words from block

blocker \ -​ər How to pronounce blocker (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on block

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for block

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with block

Spanish Central: Translation of block

Nglish: Translation of block for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of block for Arabic Speakers

Comments on block

What made you want to look up block? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!