Meaning of “rock” in the English Dictionary

"rock" in British English

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uk /rɒk/ us /rɑːk/

rock noun (STONE)

B1 [ C or U ] the dry solid part of the earth's surface, or any large piece of this that sticks up out of the ground or the sea:

Mountains and cliffs are formed from rock.
The boat struck a rock outside the bay and sank.

[ C ] a piece of rock or stone:

The demonstrators were hurling rocks at the police.
rocks [ plural ]

a line of large stones sticking up from the sea:

The storm forced the ship onto the rocks.

[ C ] slang for a valuable stone used in jewellery, especially a diamond:

Have you seen the size of the rock he gave her for their anniversary?

More examples

  • The boat sank almost immediately after it had struck the rock.
  • The rock weighed over a ton and was completely immovable.
  • A crab scuttled away under a rock as we passed.
  • She turned her ankle on the rocks and had to hobble back to camp.
  • There were some large rocks sticking up out of the water.

rock noun (MUSIC)

A2 [ U ] a type of popular music with a strong, loud beat that is usually played with electric guitars and drums:

a rock group
a rock star

More examples

  • Many of the Rolling Stones' records have become rock classics.
  • An unlikely assortment of rock stars and politicians attended the charity concert.
  • On Radio London they play African and South American music as well as rock and pop.
  • The restaurant was hopelessly mismanaged by a former rock musician with no business experience.
  • Fame in the world of rock and pop is largely ephemeral.


uk /rɒk/ us /rɑːk/

rock verb (MOVE)

C2 [ I or T ] to (cause someone or something to) move backwards and forwards or from side to side in a regular way:

He picked up the baby and gently rocked her to sleep.
If you rock back on that chair, you're going to break it.

[ T ] If a person or place is rocked by something such as an explosion, the force of it makes the person or place shake:

The explosion, which rocked the city, killed 300.

More examples

  • The nurse rocked the cradle.
  • He rocked the cradle with a gentle backwards and forwards motion.
  • He tried to calm the screaming baby by rocking it back and forth.
  • She was gazing out the window, rocking rhythmically to and fro.
  • He rocks in his sleep.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “rock” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"rock" in American English

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us /rɑk/

rock noun (STONE)

[ C/U ] a large mass of stone that sticks up out of the ground or the sea, or a separate piece of stone:

[ U ] This is some of the oldest rock on the earth’s surface.
[ C ] Waves crashed against the rocks.
[ C ] Bees poured into the neighborhood when boys threw rocks at the hives.

[ C/U ] slang A rock is also a diamond or other jewel.

rock noun (MUSIC)

[ U ] also rock-and-roll, /ˌrɑk·ənˈroʊl/ , rock ’n’ roll a type of popular music with a strong beat, which is usually played with electric guitars and drums

rockverb [ I/T ]

us /rɑk/

rock verb [ I/T ] (MOVE)

to move something or cause something to move backward and forward or from side to side:

[ T ] He rocked the baby to sleep.
[ I ] If you rock back on that chair, you’re going to break it.

If a building or area rocks, it shakes it violently:

[ T ] An earthquake rocked the downtown area today.

If a person or place is rocked, it is surprised, upset, or excited:

[ T ] The university was rocked by the scandal.

rock verb [ I/T ] (BE EXCELLENT)

to be extremely good:

[ I ] She's such a great role model for young women – she really rocks!

(Definition of “rock” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)