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


    rock the boat, Informal. to disrupt the smooth functioning or routine of something: Don't rock the boat by demanding special treatment from management.

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

British Dictionary definitions for rock the boat




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 the boat
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for rock the boat


[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 the boat



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 the boat

rock the boat

Disturb a stable situation, as in An easygoing manager, he won't rock the boat unless it's absolutely necessary. This idiom alludes to capsizing a small vessel, such as a canoe, by moving about in it too violently. [Colloquial; early 1900s]


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.