rock 'n' roll


a style of popular music that derives in part from blues and folk music and is marked by a heavily accented beat and a simple, repetitive phrase structure.
of or pertaining to this music.
verb (used without object)
to dance to or play rock-'n'-roll.
Also, rock-and-roll, rock 'n' roll.

1950–55; contraction of phrase rock and roll; see rock2

rock-'n'-roller, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin & History

rock 'n' roll
noun ref. to a specific style of popular music is attested from 1954, from rock (v.2) + roll (v.). The verbal phrase had been a Black Eng. euphemism for "sexual intercourse," used in popular dance music lyrics and song titles since at least the 1934s. Shortened form rock first attested 1957.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

rock 'n' roll definition

Popular music combining elements of blues (or rhythm and blues), gospel music, and country and western music, and known for its strong beat and urgent lyrics. Well-known early, pioneering rock 'n' roll artists or groups include Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, the Supremes, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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