the isolating, closing off, or surrounding of a place, as a port, harbor, or city, by hostile ships or troops to prevent entrance or exit.
any obstruction of passage or progress: We had difficulty in getting through the blockade of bodyguards.
Pathology. interruption or inhibition of a normal physiological signal, as a nerve impulse or a heart muscle–contraction impulse.

verb (used with object), block·ad·ed, block·ad·ing.

to subject to a blockade.

Origin of blockade

1670–80; block (in the sense “to create obstacles”) + -ade1
Related formsblock·ad·er, nouncoun·ter·block·ade, noun, verb, coun·ter·block·ad·ed, coun·ter·block·ad·ing.non·block·ad·ed, adjectivepre·block·ade, noun, verb (used with object), pre·block·ad·ed, pre·block·ad··block·ade, adjectiveun·block·ad·ed, adjective

Synonym study

1. See siege. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blockade

Contemporary Examples of blockade

Historical Examples of blockade

  • Besides which he established a blockade in front of the harbour when the weather permitted.



  • The blockade had raised even the most simple articles to the price of luxuries.

    The Bondwoman

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • Then we will all have to get out or else be obliged to run the blockade.

  • They wont do that, and if they do, England will break the blockade.

    Among the Pines

    James R. Gilmore

  • The British Isles were declared to be in a state of blockade.

    Union and Democracy

    Allen Johnson

British Dictionary definitions for blockade



military the interdiction of a nation's sea lines of communications, esp of an individual port by the use of sea power
something that prevents access or progress
med the inhibition of the effect of a hormone or a drug, a transport system, or the action of a nerve by a drug

verb (tr)

to impose a blockade on
to obstruct the way to
Derived Formsblockader, noun

Word Origin for blockade

C17: from block + -ade, as in ambuscade
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 blockade

mid-17c., from block (v.) + -ade, false French ending (the French word is blocus, 18c. in this sense, which seems to be in part a back-formation from the verb bloquer and in part influenced by Middle Dutch blokhuus "blockhouse").


late 17c., from blockade (n.). Related: Blockaded; blockading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

blockade in Medicine




Intravenous injection of large amounts of colloidal dyes in which the reaction of the reticuloendothelial cells to other influences is temporarily prevented.
Arrest of nerve impulse transmission at autonomic synaptic junctions, autonomic receptor sites, or myoneural junctions through the action of a drug.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.