or rock-and-roll, rock 'n' roll

[ rok-uhn-rohl ]
/ ˈrɒk ənˈroʊl /
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a style of popular music that derives in part from blues and folk music and is marked by a heavily accented beat and a simple, repetitive phrase structure.
of or relating to this music.
verb (used without object)
to dance to or play rock-'n'-roll.
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Origin of rock-'n'-roll

1950–55; contraction of phrase rock and roll;see rock2

OTHER WORDS FROM rock-'n'-roll

rock-'n'-roller, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does rock-’n’-roll mean?

Rock-’n’-roll is a style of music noted for its accented beats, repetitive structure, and influence from blues and folk music.

To rock-’n’-roll is to play or dance to rock-’n’-roll music. Figuratively, it can also mean to get moving, as in If we don’t rock-’n’-roll now, we’re going to be late!

Rock-’n’-roll is a genre of music generally believed to have started in the 1950s in the United States and is popular throughout the world today. The genre was influenced by blues, folk, and jazz. Rock-’n’-roll bands typically consist of a lead guitarist, bass guitarist, lead singer, and drummer. Many rock-’n’-roll bands will incorporate other musicians, such as pianists, violinists, saxophonists, and many more.

Rock-’n’-roll is also used to describe something exciting or aggressively stylish, reflecting the culture of rock-’n’-roll, as in Tommy’s leather jacket was very rock-’n’-roll.

Rock-’n’-roll can also be spelled rock ’n’ roll or rock-and-roll and is sometimes referred to simply as rock.

Example: Doesn’t every drummer love rock-’n’-roll at some point in their lives?

Where does rock-’n’-roll come from?

The first records of the term rock-’n’-roll come from the 1930s. It is a contraction of the phrase rock and roll, meaning “to sway and turn one’s body” and was occasionally used as a euphemism for sexual activity.

Rock-’n’-roll song lyrics often discuss some type of rebellion or touch on a social subject not usually touched on in music and attempts to tell an urgent message through public image. The culture surrounding the genre is also often associated with rebellion and freedom. Like the music, it is often loud and aggressive.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to rock-’n’-roll?

  • rock-and-roll (alternate spelling)
  • rock-n-roll (alternate spelling)
  • rock-’n’-roller (noun)

What are some synonyms for rock-’n’-roll?

What are some words that share a root or word element with rock-’n’-roll?

What are some words that often get used in discussing rock-’n’-roll?

How is rock-’n’-roll used in real life?

Rock-’n’-roll often refers to the genre of music, but it can also be used to describe the culture that surrounds the music.


Try using rock-’n’-roll!

Is rock-’n’-roll used correctly in the following sentence?

It’s time to get out of bed and rock-’n’-roll!

How to use rock-'n'-roll in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rock-'n'-roll


a variant spelling of rock and roll

Derived forms of rock'n'roll

rock'n'roller, noun
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

Cultural definitions for rock-'n'-roll

rock 'n' roll

Popular music combining elements of blues (or rhythm and blues), gospel music, and country and western music, and known for its strong beat and urgent lyrics. Well-known early, pioneering rock 'n' roll artists or groups include Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, the Supremes, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley.

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.