building-block

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:
1840–50

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
building block
 
n
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 10th Edition
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