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[rok] /rɒk/
verb (used without object)
to move or sway to and fro or from side to side.
to be moved or swayed powerfully with excitement, emotion, etc.
Mining. (of sand or gravel) to be washed in a cradle.
to dance to or play rock music.
(of popular music) to have the driving beat characteristic of rock.
Slang. to be very good, impressive, exciting, or effective:
This show really rocks.
verb (used with object)
to move or sway to and fro or from side to side, especially gently and soothingly.
to lull in security, hope, etc.
to affect deeply; stun; move or sway powerfully, as with emotion:
Everyone in the courtroom was rocked by the verdict.
to shake or disturb violently:
A thunderous explosion rocked the waterfront.
  1. to stir up; animate:
    We're gonna rock this joint tonight!
  2. to use, wear, or display (a look, garment, etc.) in a showy, self-confident manner and to great effect:
    Only you could rock that hat!
Graphic Arts. to roughen the surface of (a copperplate) with a rocker preparatory to scraping a mezzotint.
Mining. cradle (def 22).
a rocking movement:
the gentle rock of the boat.
rock-'n'-roll (def 1).
rock-'n'-roll (def 3).
rock the boat, Informal. to disrupt the smooth functioning or routine of something:
Don't rock the boat by demanding special treatment from management.
before 1100; Middle English rocken, Old English roccian; cognate with Middle Dutch rocken; akin to German rücken; Old Norse rykkja to jerk
Related forms
rockable, adjective
rockingly, adverb
unrocked, adjective
1. roll, shake. See swing1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rocking
  • Jazz, world beat, and experimental artists keep the crowd rocking.
  • All the while, the zoo's four chimps listened nervously, rocking back and forth and shaking the bars of the pen down the hall.
  • He dropped into his rocking chair, looking around the room.
  • Sobbing, she hunches her shoulders and wraps her arms around herself, rocking back and forth.
  • Haynes climbed the spinning, rocking structure to a perilous and precarious perch high on the scaffolding.
  • It's catchy and rocking and modern sounding, and his voice sounds all over the place, in an impressive way.
  • Or, watch television in a rocking chair: rocking also takes energy and involves a continuous gentle flexing of the calf muscles.
  • The red rocking chair was a rocking of his own hips as he sat in the kitchen.
  • He has been rocking and rolling his way through the city's bars, a couple of hours every night, for nearly two decades.
  • The redhead is rocking that green dress with unexpected red shoes.
British Dictionary definitions for rocking


(geology) any aggregate of minerals that makes up part of the earth's crust. It may be unconsolidated, such as a sand, clay, or mud, or consolidated, such as granite, limestone, or coal See also igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic
any hard mass of consolidated mineral matter, such as a boulder
(mainly US & Canadian, Austral) a stone
a person or thing suggesting a rock, esp in being dependable, unchanging, or providing firm foundation
(Brit) a hard sweet, typically a long brightly-coloured peppermint-flavoured stick, sold esp in holiday resorts
(slang) a jewel, esp a diamond
short for rock salmon
(pl) (slang) the testicles
(slang) another name for crack (sense 29)
between a rock and a hard place, having to choose between two equally unpleasant alternatives
on the rocks
  1. in a state of ruin or destitution
  2. (of drinks, esp whisky) served with ice
Word Origin
C14: from Old French roche, of unknown origin


to move or cause to move from side to side or backwards and forwards
to reel or sway or cause (someone) to reel or sway, as with a violent shock or emotion
(transitive) to shake or move (something) violently
(intransitive) to dance in the rock-and-roll style
(mining) to wash (ore) or (of ore) to be washed in a cradle
(transitive) to roughen (a copper plate) with a rocker before engraving a mezzotint
(transitive) (slang, mainly US) to impress by wearing (an item of clothing) or playing (a musical instrument): She can still rock a miniskirt, He rocks a guitar like nobody’s business
(informal) rock the boat, to create a disturbance in the existing situation
a rocking motion
short for rock and roll
Also called rock music. any of various styles of pop music having a heavy beat, derived from rock and roll
See also rock up
Word Origin
Old English roccian; related to Middle Dutch, Old High German rocken, German rücken


noun the Rock
an informal name for Gibraltar
a Canadian informal name for Newfoundland
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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Word Origin and History for rocking

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



"stone, mass of mineral matter," c.1300, from Old English rocc (e.g. stanrocc "stone rock or obelisk") and directly from Old North French roque, which is cognate with Medieval Latin rocca (8c.), from Vulgar Latin *rocca, of uncertain origin, according to Klein sometimes said to be from Celtic (cf. Breton roch).

In Middle English it seems to have been used principally for rock formations as opposed to individual stones. Meaning "precious stone, especially a diamond," is 1908, U.S. slang. Meaning "crystallized cocaine" is attested from 1973, in West Coast U.S. slang. Figurative use for "sure foundation" (especially with reference to Christ) is from 1520s; but also from 1520s as "source of danger or destruction," in reference to shipwrecks (e.g. on the rocks). Also used attributively in names of animals that frequent rocky habitats, e.g. rock lobster (1843). Between a rock and a hard place first attested 1921:

to be between a rock and a hard place, vb. ph. To be bankrupt. Common in Arizona in recent panics; sporadic in California. ["Dialect Notes," vol. V, part iv, 1921]
Rock-ribbed is from 1776, originally of land; figurative sense of "resolute" first recorded 1887. Rock-happy (1945) was U.S. Pacific Theater armed forces slang for "mentally unhinged after too much time on one island." The rock-scissors-paper game is attested by that name from 1976; from 1968 as paper-stone-scissors. A 1967 source says it is based on Japanese Jan Ken Pon (or Janken for short), which is said to mean the same thing more or less.

"action of rocking; a movement to and fro," 1823, from rock (v.1). As short for rock and roll, by 1957; but sense of "musical rhythm characterized by a strong beat" is from 1946, in blues slang. Rock star attested by 1966.


"to sway," late Old English roccian "move a child gently to and fro," related to Old Norse rykkja "to pull, tear, move," Swedish rycka "to pull, pluck," Middle Dutch rucken, Old High German rucchan, German rücken "to move jerkily."

Meaning "cause to sway back and forth" is from late 13c. Intransitive sense from late 14c. For popular music senses, see rock (v.2). Related: Rocked; rocking. To rock the boat in the figurative sense "stir up trouble" is from 1914. Rock-a-bye first recorded 1805 in nursery rhyme.

"to dance to popular music with a strong beat," 1948 (first attested in song title "We're gonna rock"), from rock (v.1), in earlier blues slang sense of "to cause to move with musical rhythm" (1922); often used at first with sexual overtones (cf. 1922 song title "My Man Rocks Me (with One Steady Roll)"). Sense developed early 1950s to "play or dance to rock and roll music." Related: Rocked; rocking. Rocksteady, Jamaican pop music style (precursor of reggae), is attested from 1969.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rocking in Medicine

Rock (rŏk), John. 1890-1984.

American gynecologist and obstetrician who helped develop (1954) the first effective oral contraceptive.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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rocking in Science
  1. A relatively hard, naturally occurring mineral material. Rock can consist of a single mineral or of several minerals that are either tightly compacted or held together by a cementlike mineral matrix. The three main types of rock are igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.

  2. A piece of such material; a stone.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for rocking



Excellent: rockin' time on New Year's Eve


  1. A dollar; buck: I want to see you make twenty rocks (1840+)
  2. Any precious stone, esp a diamond (1908+ Underworld)
  3. A rock-and-roll devotee: teenagers called ''rocks'' (1950s+)
  4. Rock-and-roll music: hard rock (1950s+)
  5. A small cube of very pure cocaine, intended for smoking rather than inhalation: Dealers sell pellet-size ''rocks'' in small plastic vials (1980s+ Narcotics)
  6. A cellblock: When is the wagon due back on this rock, Pops? (1970s+ Prison)
  7. A basketball (1980s+ Basketball)
  1. To do the sex act with or to; screw, ride: My man rocks me with one steady roll (1900+)
  2. To move, dance, writhe, etc, to rock-and-roll music; boogie, bop: Soon just one couple was rocking in the middle of the floor (1950s+)
  3. To be resonant with and physically responsive to rockand-roll music; jump: Soon the whole room was rocking (1950s+)
Related Terms

acid rock, glitter rock, hard rock, hot rock, punk rock, rim-rock

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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rocking in the Bible

(Heb. tsur), employed as a symbol of God in the Old Testament (1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Sam. 22:3; Isa. 17:10; Ps. 28:1; 31:2,3; 89:26; 95:1); also in the New Testament (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 9:33; 1 Cor. 10:4). In Dan. 2:45 the Chaldaic form of the Hebrew word is translated "mountain." It ought to be translated "rock," as in Hab. 1:12 in the Revised Version. The "rock" from which the stone is cut there signifies the divine origin of Christ. (See STONE.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with rocking
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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