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building block

noun
1.
block (def 2).
2.
one of a set of cube-shaped blocks used by children to make simple constructions.
3.
a basic element or component:
the building blocks of proteins.
Origin
1840-1850
1840-50
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for building block

building block

noun
1.
a block of stone or other material, larger than a brick, used in building
2.
a component that fits with others to form a whole: standardized software building blocks
3.
another name for (the child's toy) block
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
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