block (n.1)

"solid piece," early 14c., blok, blokke, "large solid piece of wood," usually with one or more plane faces, from Old French bloc "log, block" of wood (13c.), which is from a Germanic source such as Middle Dutch bloc "trunk of a tree," Old High German bloh (from PIE *bhlugo-, from *bhelg- "a thick plank, beam;" see balk (n.)).

Generalized by late 15c. to any solid piece. Meaning "solid mass of wood, the upper surface of which is used for some purpose" is from late 15c., originally the executioner's block where the condemned were beheaded. Meaning "stump where a slave stood to be sold at auction" is from 1842. Meaning "mold on which something is shaped, or placed to keep its shape," typically a hat or wig, is from 1570s; sense of "head" (generally disparaging) is from 1630s, perhaps an extension of this. To knock (someone's) block off "thrash, beat" is by 1923.

Meaning "grooved pulley in a wooden case" (used to transmit power and change the direction of motion by means of a rope) is from c. 1400. Hence block and tackle (1825; see tackle (n.)). The meaning in city block is 1796, from the notion of a "compact mass" of buildings.

BLOCK. A term applied in America to a square mass of houses included between four streets. It is a very useful one. [Bartlett]

Later of a portion of a city enclosed by streets, whether built up or not.

block (v.1)

"obstruct, hinder passage from or to," 1590s, from French bloquer "to block, stop up," from Old French bloc "log, block of wood" (see block (n.1)). Compare Dutch blokkeren, German blockieren "to blockade." Sense in cricket is from 1772; in U.S. football, "stop or obstruct another player," from 1889. Related: Blocked; blocking.

block (v.2)

"make smooth or to give shape on a block," 1620s, from block (n.1). Meaning "form into a block" is by 1863; that of "strengthen or support by blocks" is from 1881. Theater sense "designate the position on stage of each actor in a scene" is by 1961. Sense in cricket is from 1772; in U.S. football from 1889. Related: Blocked; blocking.

block (n.2)

"obstruction," 1831, from block (v.1), also in part perhaps an extended sense of block (n.1). As a type of defensive shot in cricket, from 1825; in U.S. football, the act of obstructing another player, from 1912.

updated on February 15, 2021

Definitions of block from WordNet
block (v.)
render unsuitable for passage;
block the way
Synonyms: barricade / blockade / stop / block off / block up / bar
block (v.)
hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of;
His brother blocked him at every turn
Synonyms: obstruct / blockade / hinder / stymie / stymy / embarrass
block (v.)
stop from happening or developing;
Synonyms: stop / halt / kibosh
block (v.)
interfere with or prevent the reception of signals;
block the signals emitted by this station
Synonyms: jam
block (v.)
run on a block system;
block trains
block (v.)
interrupt the normal function of by means of anesthesia;
block a nerve
block a muscle
block (v.)
shut out from view or get in the way so as to hide from sight;
The thick curtain blocked the action on the stage
Synonyms: obstruct
block (v.)
stamp or emboss a title or design on a book with a block;
block the book cover
block (v.)
Her arteries are blocked
Synonyms: stuff / lug / choke up
block (v.)
block passage through;
Synonyms: obstruct / obturate / impede / occlude / jam / close up
block (v.)
support, secure, or raise with a block;
block the wheels of a car
block a plate for printing
block (v.)
impede the movement of (an opponent or a ball);
block an attack
Synonyms: parry / deflect
block (v.)
be unable to remember;
You are blocking the name of your first wife!
Synonyms: forget / blank out / draw a blank
block (v.)
shape by using a block;
block a garment
block (v.)
shape into a block or blocks;
block the graphs so one can see the results clearly
block (v.)
prohibit the conversion or use of (assets);
block (n.)
a solid piece of something (usually having flat rectangular sides);
the pyramids were built with large stone blocks
block (n.)
a rectangular area in a city surrounded by streets and usually containing several buildings;
he lives in the next block
Synonyms: city block
block (n.)
a three-dimensional shape with six square or rectangular sides;
Synonyms: cube
block (n.)
a number or quantity of related things dealt with as a unit;
he held a large block of the company's stock
he reserved a large block of seats
block (n.)
housing in a large building that is divided into separate units;
there is a block of classrooms in the west wing
block (n.)
(computer science) a sector or group of sectors that function as the smallest data unit permitted;
since blocks are often defined as a single sector, the terms `block' and `sector' are sometimes used interchangeably
block (n.)
an inability to remember or think of something you normally can do; often caused by emotional tension;
I knew his name perfectly well but I had a temporary block
Synonyms: mental block
block (n.)
a simple machine consisting of a wheel with a groove in which a rope can run to change the direction or point of application of a force applied to the rope;
Synonyms: pulley / pulley-block / pulley block
block (n.)
a metal casting containing the cylinders and cooling ducts of an engine;
the engine had to be replaced because the block was cracked
Synonyms: engine block / cylinder block
block (n.)
an obstruction in a pipe or tube;
block (n.)
a platform from which an auctioneer sells;
they put their paintings on the block
Synonyms: auction block
block (n.)
the act of obstructing or deflecting someone's movements;
Synonyms: blocking
From, not affiliated with etymonline.