Idioms

    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

2
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

Synonyms for rock

1. roll, shake.

Synonym study

1. See swing1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for rock the boat

complain, disagree, disturb, object, protest

British Dictionary definitions for rock the boat

rock

1

noun

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

rock

2

verb

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

noun

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

Rock

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rock the boat in Medicine

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.

rock the boat in Science

rock

[rŏk]

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]

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.