rock

1 of 4

verb

rocked; rocking; rocks

transitive verb

1
: to move back and forth in or as if in a cradle
She gently rocked the baby to sleep.
2
a
: to cause to sway back and forth
a boat rocked by the waves
b(1)
: to cause to shake violently
An earthquake rocked the town.
(2)
: to daze with or as if with a vigorous blow
A hard right rocked the contender.
(3)
: to astonish or disturb greatly
The scandal rocked the community.
3
: to rouse to excitement (as by performing rock music)
The band rocked the crowd.
4
informal : to wear, display, or feature (something striking, distinctive, or attractive)
Carly Patterson is rocking a tight yellow T-shirt with jeans and high wooden sandals, belting her lyrics into a microphone.Kate Hairopolous
In the picture he's rocking a beard, a pair of shades and a striped t-shirt.Sam Haysom

intransitive verb

1
: to become moved backward and forward under often violent impact
The tower rocked under the impact of the hurricane.
also : to move gently back and forth
rocked on the balls of his feet
2
: to move forward at a steady pace
also : to move forward at a high speed
the train rocked through the countryside
3
: to sing, dance to, or play rock music
The band was rocking all night long.
4
slang : to be extremely enjoyable, pleasing, or effective
her new car rocks

rock

2 of 4

noun (1)

often attributive
1
: a rocking movement
2
: popular music usually played on electronically amplified instruments and characterized by a persistent heavily accented beat, repetition of simple phrases, and often country, folk, and blues elements

rock

3 of 4

noun (2)

1
: a large mass of stone forming a cliff, promontory, or peak
2
: a concreted mass of stony material
also : broken pieces of such masses
3
: consolidated or unconsolidated solid mineral matter
also : a particular mass of it
4
a
: something like a rock in firmness:
(1)
: foundation, support
The superintendent describes [Michael] Doran as a rock on which the success of the school is and will continue to be built.Henry County (Kentucky) Local
(2)
: refuge
a rock of independent thought … in an ocean of parochialismThomas Molnar
b
: something that threatens or causes disaster
often used in plural
By the late 1930's, the university, so near the rocks in preceding years, had become one of the best-rounded educational institutions in the country.Current Biography
5
a
: a flavored stick candy with color running through
6
slang
a
: gem
b
7
a
: a small crystallized mass of crack cocaine
8
: the ball used in basketball
Who's going to fight through screens or risk lumps and lacerations lunging into the stands after the rock?Chris Broussard
rock adjective
rocklike adjective

rock

4 of 4

noun (3)

1
2
: the wool or flax on a distaff
Phrases
rock the boat
: to do something that disturbs the equilibrium of a situation
between a rock and a hard place or less commonly between the rock and the hard place
: in a difficult or uncomfortable position with no attractive way out
on the rocks
1
: in or into a state of destruction or wreckage
their marriage is on the rocks
2
: on ice cubes
bourbon on the rocks
Choose the Right Synonym for rock

shake, agitate, rock, convulse mean to move up and down or to and fro with some violence.

shake often carries a further implication of a particular purpose.

shake well before using

agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring.

an ocean agitated by storms

rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval.

the whole city was rocked by the explosion

convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm.

spectators were convulsed with laughter

Examples of rock in a Sentence

Verb She gently rocked the baby to sleep. He rocked back and forth while he stood waiting. The boat rocked back and forth on the waves. An earthquake rocked the town. The building was rocked by an explosion. The news of the murders rocked the town. Their invention rocked the computer industry. The band rocked the crowd.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Flo Milli, for one, rocked a jet-black purple bouffant and Chlöe was found with a fanned updo. India Espy-Jones, Essence, 8 Apr. 2024 The pop star, 20, who was once known for wearing bright clothes and hair bows, rocked an edgier look with black makeup in the video. Esme Mazzeo, Peoplemag, 7 Apr. 2024 Laughing, joking and rocking with the prowess of a man half his age, Springsteen clearly isn’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet. Daniel Kohn, SPIN, 5 Apr. 2024 Burnham rocking braids at the beginning of Season 3 speaks cultural volumes. USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 When the largest earthquake in Taiwan in half a century struck off its east coast, the buildings in the closest city, Hualien, swayed and rocked. Siyi Zhao Lam Yik Fei, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 In 2022, Frisch's hired a new CEO James Walker to steady operations after the company was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Alexander Coolidge, The Enquirer, 3 Apr. 2024 Reed, 18, and two other people have now pleaded guilty to charges stemming for the shooting that killed 17-year-old Zechariah Trevino and rocked the school community. James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 Mar. 2024 The blast is the third atrocity in a week to rock Pakistan, a strategic ally of China and a key link in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, underscoring the mounting security challenges for Chinese projects in the country. Sophia Saifi, CNN, 27 Mar. 2024
Noun
Host rocks to the mineralization are primarily the clastic sediments of the lowest portion of the Cretaceous Bisbee Formation. Kansas City Star, 10 Apr. 2024 From a visual style that cites the wild, earth-toned cinema of New Hollywood to the motifs of American rock music and Coca-Cola, Park, who directed three episodes, illustrates how the soft power of cultural imperialism can blur battle lines. Judy Berman, TIME, 10 Apr. 2024 Really, there was no next anyone – at least not within any kind of conventional rock sphere, at least not on that commercial level. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, 9 Apr. 2024 Use it in woodland or natural areas, in rock gardens, or as a border along a path. Steve Bender, Southern Living, 9 Apr. 2024 The album followed the singer-songwriter’s huge The River album and the follow-up was widely expected to be a rock album with The E Street Band. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Apr. 2024 Paul also goes through the evidence that Beyoncé’s follow-up to Cowboy Carter, the third in the trilogy that began with Renaissance, will be a full-fledged, official rock album. Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 7 Apr. 2024 Post — along with his longtime partner, arranger-composer Pete Carpenter — was the first to incorporate rock ‘n’ roll into television scores, updating the sound of TV with electric guitars, synthesizers and pop rhythm sections. Jon Burlingame, Variety, 29 Mar. 2024 Across Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé honors pioneers — both celebrated and forgotten — within country music but also dips into rock, classical music, and opera. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 29 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rock.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English rokken, from Old English roccian; akin to Old High German rucken to cause to move

Noun (2)

Middle English rokke, from Old French dialect (Norman & Picard) roke, from Vulgar Latin *rocca

Noun (3)

Middle English roc, from Middle Dutch rocke; akin to Old High German rocko distaff

First Known Use

Verb

12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

1559, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rock was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near rock

Cite this Entry

“Rock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rock. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

rock

1 of 3 verb
1
: to move back and forth in or as if in a cradle
2
a
: to sway or cause to sway back and forth
b
: to cause to be upset
rocked by the news

rock

2 of 3 noun
1
: a rocking movement
2
: popular music usually having a fast tempo, strong beat, and much repetition

rock

3 of 3 noun
1
: a large mass of stone
2
a
: solid mineral deposits
b
: a lump or piece of rock
3
: something like a rock in firmness : support
rocklike adjective
Etymology

Verb

Old English roccian "to move back and forth as in a cradle"

Noun

Middle English rokke "stone, rock," from an early French dialect word roke (same meaning)

Medical Definition

rock

noun
1
: a small crystallized mass of crack cocaine
2
: crack

called also rock cocaine

Geographical Definition

Rock

geographical name

river 300 miles (483 kilometers) long in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois flowing south and southwest into the Mississippi River at the city of Rock Island

More from Merriam-Webster on rock

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