Nearby words

  1. rochelle salt,
  2. rochelle, la,
  3. rochester,
  4. rochet,
  5. rocinante,
  6. rock 'n' roll,
  7. rock and roll,
  8. rock and rye,
  9. rock barnacle,
  10. rock bass


Origin of rock

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



verb (used without object)

to move or sway to and fro or from side to side.
to be moved or swayed powerfully with excitement, emotion, etc.
Mining. (of sand or gravel) to be washed in a cradle.
to dance to or play rock music.
(of popular music) to have the driving beat characteristic of rock.
Slang. to be very good, impressive, exciting, or effective: This show really rocks.

verb (used with object)

to move or sway to and fro or from side to side, especially gently and soothingly: Oh, look! Her big brother is rocking the baby to sleep.
to lull in security, hope, etc.
to affect deeply; stun; move or sway powerfully, as with emotion: Everyone in the courtroom was rocked by the verdict.
to shake or disturb violently: A thunderous explosion rocked the waterfront.
  1. to stir up; animate: We're gonna rock this joint tonight!
  2. to use, wear, or display in a showy, self-confident manner or to great effect: Only you could rock that hat! The game rocks some amazing new features.
Graphic Arts. to roughen the surface of (a copperplate) with a rocker preparatory to scraping a mezzotint.
Mining. cradle(def 22).


a rocking movement: the gentle rock of the boat.


Origin of rock

before 1100; Middle English rocken, Old English roccian; cognate with Middle Dutch rocken; akin to German rücken; Old Norse rykkja to jerk

Related formsrock·a·ble, adjectiverock·ing·ly, adverbun·rocked, adjective

Synonym study

1. See swing1.




Origin of rock

First recorded in 1690–1700; short for rockfish


or Rock·y

[rok or rok-ee]


a male given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rock

British Dictionary definitions for rock




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
any hard mass of consolidated mineral matter, such as a boulder
mainly US, Canadian and Australian a stone
a person or thing suggesting a rock, esp in being dependable, unchanging, or providing firm foundation
British a hard sweet, typically a long brightly-coloured peppermint-flavoured stick, sold esp in holiday resorts
slang a jewel, esp a diamond
short for rock salmon
(plural) slang the testicles
slang another name for crack (def. 29)
between a rock and a hard place having to choose between two equally unpleasant alternatives
on the rocks
  1. in a state of ruin or destitution
  2. (of drinks, esp whisky) served with ice

Word Origin for rock

C14: from Old French roche, of unknown origin


to move or cause to move from side to side or backwards and forwards
to reel or sway or cause (someone) to reel or sway, as with a violent shock or emotion
(tr) to shake or move (something) violently
(intr) to dance in the rock-and-roll style
mining to wash (ore) or (of ore) to be washed in a cradle
(tr) to roughen (a copper plate) with a rocker before engraving a mezzotint
(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
rock the boat informal to create a disturbance in the existing situation


a rocking motion
short for rock and roll
Also called: rock music any of various styles of pop music having a heavy beat, derived from rock and roll
See also rock up

Word Origin for rock

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


noun the Rock

an informal name for Gibraltar
a Canadian informal name for Newfoundland
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 rock
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for rock


[rŏk]John 1890-1984

American gynecologist and obstetrician who helped develop the first effective oral contraceptive in 1954.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for rock



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.
A piece of such material; a stone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.