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rock1

[rok]
See more synonyms for rock on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a large mass of stone forming a hill, cliff, promontory, or the like.
  2. Geology.
    1. mineral matter of variable composition, consolidated or unconsolidated, assembled in masses or considerable quantities in nature, as by the action of heat or water.
    2. a particular kind of such matter: igneous rock.
  3. stone in the mass: buildings that stand upon rock.
  4. a stone of any size.
  5. something resembling or suggesting a rock.
  6. a firm foundation or support: The Lord is my rock.
  7. Chiefly British. a kind of hard candy, variously flavored.
  8. rock candy.
  9. Often rocks. Slang.
    1. a piece of money.
    2. a dollar bill.
  10. Slang.
    1. a diamond.
    2. any gem.
  11. Slang.
    1. crack(def 33).
    2. a pellet or lump of crack.
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Idioms
  1. between a rock and a hard place, between undesirable alternatives.
  2. get one's rocks off, Slang: Vulgar. to have an orgasm.
  3. on the rocks,
    1. Informal.in or into a state of disaster or ruin: Their marriage is on the rocks.
    2. Informal.without funds; destitute; bankrupt.
    3. (of a beverage, especially liquor or a cocktail) with, or containing, ice cubes: Scotch on the rocks; a vodka martini on the rocks.
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Origin of rock1

1300–50; 1905–10 for def 10; Middle English rokk(e) < Old French ro(c)que, roche (cf. roche alum); compare Spanish, Provençal roca, Italian rocca, Medieval Latin rocha, rocca (> late Old English -rocc in stānrocc “stone-rock”)
Related formsrock·less, adjectiverock·like, adjective
Can be confusedboulder cobblestone granule pebble rock stone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for between a rock and a hard place

rock1

noun
  1. geology any aggregate of minerals that makes up part of the earth's crust. It may be unconsolidated, such as a sand, clay, or mud, or consolidated, such as granite, limestone, or coalSee also igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic
  2. any hard mass of consolidated mineral matter, such as a boulder
  3. mainly US, Canadian and Australian a stone
  4. a person or thing suggesting a rock, esp in being dependable, unchanging, or providing firm foundation
  5. British a hard sweet, typically a long brightly-coloured peppermint-flavoured stick, sold esp in holiday resorts
  6. slang a jewel, esp a diamond
  7. short for rock salmon
  8. (plural) slang the testicles
  9. slang another name for crack (def. 29)
  10. between a rock and a hard place having to choose between two equally unpleasant alternatives
  11. on the rocks
    1. in a state of ruin or destitution
    2. (of drinks, esp whisky) served with ice
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French roche, of unknown origin

rock2

verb
  1. to move or cause to move from side to side or backwards and forwards
  2. to reel or sway or cause (someone) to reel or sway, as with a violent shock or emotion
  3. (tr) to shake or move (something) violently
  4. (intr) to dance in the rock-and-roll style
  5. mining to wash (ore) or (of ore) to be washed in a cradle
  6. (tr) to roughen (a copper plate) with a rocker before engraving a mezzotint
  7. (tr) slang, mainly US to impress by wearing (an item of clothing) or playing (a musical instrument)She can still rock a miniskirt; He rocks a guitar like nobody’s business
  8. rock the boat informal to create a disturbance in the existing situation
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noun
  1. a rocking motion
  2. short for rock and roll
  3. Also called: rock music any of various styles of pop music having a heavy beat, derived from rock and roll
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See also rock up

Word Origin

Old English roccian; related to Middle Dutch, Old High German rocken, German rücken

Rock

noun the Rock
  1. an informal name for Gibraltar
  2. a Canadian informal name for Newfoundland
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for between a rock and a hard place

rock

n.1

"stone, mass of mineral matter," c.1300, from Old English rocc (e.g. stanrocc "stone rock or obelisk") and directly from Old North French roque, which is cognate with Medieval Latin rocca (8c.), from Vulgar Latin *rocca, of uncertain origin, according to Klein sometimes said to be from Celtic (cf. Breton roch).

In Middle English it seems to have been used principally for rock formations as opposed to individual stones. Meaning "precious stone, especially a diamond," is 1908, U.S. slang. Meaning "crystallized cocaine" is attested from 1973, in West Coast U.S. slang. Figurative use for "sure foundation" (especially with reference to Christ) is from 1520s; but also from 1520s as "source of danger or destruction," in reference to shipwrecks (e.g. on the rocks). Also used attributively in names of animals that frequent rocky habitats, e.g. rock lobster (1843). Between a rock and a hard place first attested 1921:

to be between a rock and a hard place, vb. ph. To be bankrupt. Common in Arizona in recent panics; sporadic in California. ["Dialect Notes," vol. V, part iv, 1921]

Rock-ribbed is from 1776, originally of land; figurative sense of "resolute" first recorded 1887. Rock-happy (1945) was U.S. Pacific Theater armed forces slang for "mentally unhinged after too much time on one island." The rock-scissors-paper game is attested by that name from 1976; from 1968 as paper-stone-scissors. A 1967 source says it is based on Japanese Jan Ken Pon (or Janken for short), which is said to mean the same thing more or less.

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rock

v.1

"to sway," late Old English roccian "move a child gently to and fro," related to Old Norse rykkja "to pull, tear, move," Swedish rycka "to pull, pluck," Middle Dutch rucken, Old High German rucchan, German rücken "to move jerkily."

Meaning "cause to sway back and forth" is from late 13c. Intransitive sense from late 14c. For popular music senses, see rock (v.2). Related: Rocked; rocking. To rock the boat in the figurative sense "stir up trouble" is from 1914. Rock-a-bye first recorded 1805 in nursery rhyme.

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rock

v.2

"to dance to popular music with a strong beat," 1948 (first attested in song title "We're gonna rock"), from rock (v.1), in earlier blues slang sense of "to cause to move with musical rhythm" (1922); often used at first with sexual overtones (cf. 1922 song title "My Man Rocks Me (with One Steady Roll)"). Sense developed early 1950s to "play or dance to rock and roll music." Related: Rocked; rocking. Rocksteady, Jamaican pop music style (precursor of reggae), is attested from 1969.

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rock

n.2

"action of rocking; a movement to and fro," 1823, from rock (v.1). As short for rock and roll, by 1957; but sense of "musical rhythm characterized by a strong beat" is from 1946, in blues slang. Rock star attested by 1966.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

between a rock and a hard place in Medicine

Rock

(rŏk)John 1890-1984
  1. American gynecologist and obstetrician who helped develop the first effective oral contraceptive in 1954.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

between a rock and a hard place in Science

rock

[rŏk]
  1. A relatively hard, naturally occurring mineral material. Rock can consist of a single mineral or of several minerals that are either tightly compacted or held together by a cementlike mineral matrix. The three main types of rock are igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.
  2. A piece of such material; a stone.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

between a rock and a hard place in Culture

between a rock and a hard place

Faced with two equally dangerous or difficult choices or circumstances: “Trying to please two supervisors is like being between a rock and a hard place.” This phrase dates from the early twentieth century.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with between a rock and a hard place

between a rock and a hard place

Also, between the devil and the deep blue sea or Scylla and Charybdis. Between two equally difficult or unacceptable choices. For example, Trying to please both my boss and his supervisor puts me between a rock and a hard place. The rock and hard place version is the newest of these synonymous phrases, dating from the early 1900s, and alludes to being caught or crushed between two rocks. The oldest is Scylla and Charybdis, which in Homer's Odyssey signified a monster on a rock (Scylla) and a fatal whirlpool (Charybdis), between which Odysseus had to sail through a narrow passage. It was used figuratively by the Roman writer Virgil and many writers since. The devil in devil and deep blue sea, according to lexicographer Charles Earle Funk, referred to a seam around a ship's hull near the waterline, which, if a sailor was trying to caulk it in heavy seas, would cause him to fall overboard. Others disagree, however, and believe the phrase simply alludes to a choice between hellfire with the devil and drowning in deep waters.

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rock

In addition to the idioms beginning with rock

  • rock bottom
  • rocks in one's head, have
  • rock the boat

also see:

  • between a rock and a hard place
  • on the rocks
  • steady as a rock
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.