Words related to rock

rocking (adj.)

"moving back and forth or to and fro," late 14c., rokking, present-participle adjective from rock (v.1). Of music, from 1949 (see rock (v.2)). Rocking-horse "wooden horse mounted on rockers for children" is recorded from 1724; rocking-chair "chair mounted on rockers" is from 1766.

rock and roll (n.)
also rock 'n' roll, 1954 in reference to a specific style of popular music, from rock (v.2) + roll (v.). The verbal phrase had been an African-American vernacular euphemism for "sexual intercourse," used in popular dance music lyrics and song titles at least since the 1930s.
rack (n.2)

type of gait of a horse, between a trot and a gallop or canter, 1580s, from rack (v.) "move with a fast, lively gait" (1520s, implied in racking), which is of unknown origin; perhaps from French racquassure "racking of a horse in his pace," itself of unknown origin. Or perhaps a variant of rock (v.1).


phrase in nursery rhyme sleeping-songs, by 1805; see rock (v.1).  Compare lullaby.

rocker (n.)

1852, "a rocking chair," American English, agent noun from rock (v.1). Middle English had rokker, "nurse charged with rocking a cradle" (early 14c.). In sense of "one of the curved pieces of wood that makes a chair or cradle rock" it dates from 1787. Meaning "one who enjoys rock music" (opposed to mod (n.1)) is recorded from 1963, from rock (v.2).

Slang off (one's) rocker "crazy" is attested by 1897 according to OED; a widely reprinted 1903 newspaper column in U.S. identified it as British slang; the image is perhaps mechanical. To get (off) one's rocker seems to have been used earlier in U.S. baseball slang for "get busy, get active in a game" (1895) and does suggest the rocking-chair.

rocky (adj.)

"full of rocks," late 15c., rokki, from rock (n.1) + -y (2).  Earlier in Middle English as rochi (c. 1300), from French roche. The sense of "unsteady, unstable, tottering" is by 1737, from rock (v.1). The meaning "difficult, hard" is recorded from 1873, and may represent a bit of both.

The Rocky Mountains were so called by 1802, translating French Montagnes Rocheuses, first applied to the Canadian Rockies. "The name is not directly self-descriptive but is an approximate translation of the name of the former Native American people here known as the Assiniboin .... The mountains are in fact not noticeably rocky" [Room]. Bright notes that "These Indians were called /assiniipwaan/, lit. 'stone Sioux', by their Cree (Algonkian) neighbors".

rockabilly (n.)

type of popular music blending elements of rock 'n' roll and hillbilly music, 1956, from rock (n.2) in the music sense + second element abstracted from hillbilly music. One of the first uses is in a Billboard magazine item about Johnny Burnette's "Lonesome Train."

bedrock (n.)
also bed-rock, in geology, "solid rock lying under soil or gravel," 1850, from bed (n.) + rock (n.). Figurative use by 1869; as an adjective by 1881.
rock-bottom (adj.)

"lowest possible," 1884, from the noun phrase meaning "bedrock" (1815), also figurative, from rock (n.1) + bottom (n.).

rock-candy (n.)

"hard confection made of pure sugar in crystals of considerable size," 1723, from rock (n.1) + candy (n.).