Green’s Dictionary of Slang

block n.1

1. a fool, an idiot.

[UK]Udall Ralph Roister Doister III iii: Ye are such a calf, such an ass, such a block.
[UK]‘I.T.’ Grim The Collier of Croydon IV i: Come Iugg, let’s leave these sencelesse Blocks, Giving each other blowes and knocks.
[UK]Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona II v: speed.: What an ass art thou! I understand thee not. launce.: What a block art thou, that thou canst not!
[UK]J. Cooke How A Man May Choose A Good Wife From A Bad Act I: What a block is that, To say, God saue you! is the fellow mad.
[UK]Davies of Hereford Scourge of Folly 145: The Shep-herd’s a Knaue, or a Block.
[UK]Jonson Devil is an Ass II ii: Away, you broker’s block, you property!
[UK]Massinger Bondman II ii: This will bring him on, Or hee’s a blocke.
[UK]D. Rogers Naaman the Syrian 4: Our faculty to understand is still left in us, so that we are not meere blockes and beetles.
[UK]R. Fletcher (trans.) Martiall his Epigrams XII No. 53 119: Why dost delude us with this foolerie As though we Blocks or Idiots had bin?
[UK]E. Hickeringill The Mushroom in Works (1709) II 368: And we, poor Blocks [...] Are glad to turn his lines upon him now.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Block, a silly Fellow.
[UK]N. Ward ‘Battel without Bloodshed’ Writings (1704) (2nd edn) 121: The Knave that has Brains, and the Fool that’s a Block.
[UK]Dyche & Pardon New General Eng. Dict. (5th edn) n.p.: Block (s.) ... sometimes an ignorant, stupid fellow.
[UK]E. Gayton Festivous Notes II v 98: While Sancho, tho’ a stupid block, / Wish’d to be with her on the rock.
[Ire]L. Macnally Fashionable Levities I i: The fellow has come into life through as many shapes as an Orkney Barnacle, he was first a block, then a worm, and is now a goose.
[UK] ‘A Twiggle & a Friz’ Garland of New Songs 8: There’s the painted doll, and the powder’d fop, / With many a block that wears a wig.
[Aus]Australian (Sydney) 12 May 4/1: [H]e was remanded until the following day, in order that Mr. Street, the owner of the Glutton, might state whether ‘old block’ [i.e. a sailor] had his authority to remove anything out of the vessel.
[UK] ‘The Lady’s Snatchbox’ Cuckold’s Nest 27: So, you that are fond of the spree, / And are not as senseless as blocks, / You quickly will hasten to me, / For a snatch at my little snatch box.
Besant & Rice Chaplain of the Fleet II 88: She said that her partner was delightful to dance with, partly because he was a lord – and a title, she said, gives an air of grace to any block.
[UK]H. Nisbet ‘Bail Up!’ 206: A trusting old block your father must be!
[UK]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 76: I found the old block lying senseless.
[UK]G.M. Fenn Sappers and Miners 142: What an obstinate old block you were, Ydoll.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 270: ‘Witless block!’ he ground out.
[UK]E. Cross Tailor and Ansty 42: There was a dancing master in my time, by the name of Moriarty, who had an awkward block of a fellow to teach.

2. the head; 20C+ use mainly in knock someone’s block off

[UK] ‘The Turk in Linen’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) III 5: The Spaynyards constant to his blocke, / the ffrench inconstant ever; / but of all ffelts may be ffelt, / give me the English bever.
[UK]J. Shirley Lady of Pleasure II i: Buy a beaver for thy own block.
[UK] ‘Old England turned New’ in Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleat (1875) 267: We have new fashion’d beards, and new fashion’d locks, / And new fashion’d hats for your new pated blocks.
[UK] ‘Old England turn’d New’ in Playford Pills to Purge Melancholy I 140: New fashion’d Hats, for your new pated Blocks.
[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus II:3 27: In his high-flying Trousers drest, / With Hat squeez’d down upon his Block.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy III 120: [as cit. 1661].
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Peter’s Pension’ Works (1794) II 167: Mistress Damer’s block, That boasts some little likeness of you, Sire.
[UK] ‘Rampant Moll Was A Rum Old Mot’ in Secret Songster 5: She batter’d his block – vhich gave him a shock.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 20 Sept. 3/2: He [...] made another tremendous charge with his block, catching the mad’un in the pantry, which caused him to make an immediate deposit of all the luxuries contained in his storeroom.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]C.R. Read What I Heard, Saw, and Did 72: This man [...] was going to punch the block of a man three times his size.
[UK]H. Kingsley Ravenshoe II 86: I cleaned a groom’s boots on Toosday, and he punched my block because I blacked the tops.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[US]Ade ‘Hickey Boy and the Grip’ in In Babel 110: I’d get up and try to cool the block with a wet towel, an’ then you’d see the steam comin’ off of me.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 10 July 1/1: The mutilated blocks of some of the lords of stoush would shock a dingo from his dinner.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 56: On his block was a new effect in sky pieces for gentlemanly detectives.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 115: There’s more fucking cheese on your knob than hair on your block.
[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 557: The French word tête has been a sound name for the human head for many centuries, but its origin was in testa, meaning a pot, a favorite slang word of the soldiers of the decaying Roman Empire, exactly analogous to our block, nut and bean.
A.P. Herbert Let Us Be Glum (1941) 14: Sock the Wops and knock their blocks / Sock the Wop until he crocks.
[Aus](con. 1928) S. Gore Holy Smoke 96: block: The head.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] block n. head.

3. in drug packaging.

(a) (US drugs) a cube of morphine.

[US]B. Dai Opium Addiction in Chicago.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 99/2: block. 1. A cube of morphine; any portion of an ounce as sold in a bindle, usually 2 to 5 grains. 2. Crude bootleg morphine.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 306: block. A bindle of morphine.

(b) (drugs) compressed hashish or marijuana.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Block — Marijuana.

(c) a kilo of cocaine; thus quarter-block, a quarter kilo (9 oz).

Young Jeezy ‘Ballin’’ [lyrics] You think you ballin' cause you got a block?
Young Jeezy ‘Quarter Block’ [lyrics] Hit them up with that quarter block / Yeaaaahhhh, that quarter block.

In derivatives

blockish (adj.)

stupid; thus blockishness n., stupidity.

R. Copland Hye Way to Spyttel House Aiii: It were but lost, for blockysh braynes dull.
[UK]Lyly Euphues and his England (1916) 132: For children [...] of obstinate and blockish behaviour are neither with words to be persuaded, neither with stripes to be corrected.
[UK]P. Stubbes Anatomie of Abuses 95: In this kinde of practise they continue [...] yea, half a yeer together, swilling and gulling, night and day, till they be drunke as Apes, and as blockish as beasts.
[UK]R. Carew (trans.) Huarte’s Examination of Men’s Wits 317: If he shew blockish and vntoward, we inferre, that he was formed of the seed of his mother.
[UK]T. Walkington Optic Glasse of Humors 13: Whom do wee euer reade of more to quaffe and carouse, more to vse strong drinkes than the Scythians, and who are more blockish, and deuoid of witt and reason?
[UK]Rowlands Martin Mark-all 23: Hauing little or no other water [...] dooth so worke within their bodies, such a distemperature, that thereof proceedeth a marueilous lumpishnesse and melancholy blockishnesse.
[UK]Massinger Virgin-Martyr IV i: A blockish idiot!
[UK]Parliament of Women B4: Mistris Tabitha Teare-sheete then stood up and began to puffe and sniffe, and said [...] if they be shrewish or shie, try it out with them at sharp, or if beetle-head and blockish, with blunter weapons.
[UK]E. Hickeringill Reflections on Late Libel etc. 18: Such a plain blockish Englishman was I, that I could not spy where the Mischief, or the Popery lay.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]H. Kingsley Hillyars and Burtons (1870) 334: The smiddy of a somewhat blockish blacksmith. [Ibid.] 354: A nature so low, so sensual, so selfish, so surrounded with a [...] shell of impenetrable blockishness.

In compounds

blockbuster (n.)

see separate entry.

blockhead (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

do one’s block (v.) (also do one’s block in, do the block)(Aus.)

1. to fall in love; to become obsessed with.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Sept. 4/7: I’m doin’ me block over a tart round at a willin’ rubby.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis Songs of a Sentimental Bloke 47: I done me block complete on this Doreen, / An’ now me ’art is broke, me life’s a wreck.
[Aus]Aussie (France) 12 Mar. 6/1: I nearly did me block on a bonzer tabby I met over there.
[Aus]V. Palmer Separate Lives 220: There was a sheelah back in Salisbury who did her block on me [OED].
[Aus]N. Lindsay Age Of Consent 195: ‘What do you mean by dippy?’ ‘What I mean, do her block in suddenly and flop all over a man.’.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 320: Yer like a bloke with his first skirt—done yer block over her.

2. to lose emotional control, to lose one’s temper.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Oct. 20/1: The bug wheels swift are buzzing in / Our shattered cocoa-box; / For we are ‘off our pannikin’; / We’ve fairly ‘done our blocks’; / We’re ratty, touched, our brains are gone.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘’Ave a ’Eart!’ in Rose of Spadgers 76: Rat-face does ’is block. / ’E loosens up a string uv epi-tits.
[UK](con. WWI) A.E. Strong in Partridge Sl. Today and Yesterday 287: Fritz landed a daisy-cutter and the transport driver done his block.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 23 Dec. 65/4: But where, oh where, did we get ‘Pratting in one’s frame’, ‘Doing one’s block,’ ‘Getting into a yike,‘ [and] ‘Snifter’.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 17: All right, all right [...] You’ll all be paid. Don’t do the block.
[Aus](con. 1936–46) K.S. Prichard Winged Seeds (1984) 117: He came to see me after he’d cracked Wally: was a bit upset and that he’d done his block.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 91: That was all Sir Garnet with me, except that I had the breeze up that Ziegler might do his block.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 145: And he got you so you lost your block and took to him and done for him.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Gone Fishin’ 82: Get to hell out of here before me big mate does his block.
[Aus]A. Buzo The Roy Murphy Show (1973) 118: I will do me block. This is supposed to be a football programme, not a fashion parade.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 77: I’ll finish up doin’ me block and hitting her.
[Aus]B. Humphries Complete Barry McKenzie 11: Shit, I just done me block again. Something snapped.
[Aus]T. Winton Human Torpedo 31: I can honestly tell them I’m doin’ me block.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) May [Internet] I did have the misfortune of coming in at the tailend of a Bunny interview [...] He was doing his block in that snivelling, mumbling way he does his nana.

3. to go mad, to become irrational.

[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘War’ in Moods of Ginger Mick 26: An’ when yeh ’ear I’ve took a soljer’s job, / I gave yeh leave to say I’ve done me block, / An’ got a flock uv weevils in me knob.
knock someone’s block off (v.) (also beat someone’s block off, blow…, punch…, wallop...)

to injure someone physically; usu. in the form of a threat, I’ll knock….

[US]S. Crane in N.Y. Journal 25 Oct. in Stallman (1966) 164: If youse gits gay, I’ll knock yer block off.
[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 285: The Saloon Men were shrieking to the Participants to Beat his Block off and Jam him in the Kisser.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 154: Sorry to trouble you, but I’ve got to knock your block off.
[US]J. London Smoke Bellew Pt 9 [Internet] ‘I don’t like to wallop a sick man,’ Shorty explained, his fist doubled menacingly. ‘But I’d wallop his block off if it’d make him well.’.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 237: I oughta knock your block off for you.
[US]M. Glass Abe And Mawruss 205: Come along quiet [...] or I’ll knock yer block awff.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I viii: You sit down, or I’ll blow your block off!
[UK]Wodehouse Leave it to Psmith (1993) 502: I’d like [...] to beat your block off.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 32: He never squawked, though he talked a great deal to his intimates about knocking my block off.
[US](con. 1900s–10s) Dos Passos 42nd Parallel in USA (1966) 286: As the fellow said when they blew his block off.
[US]R.E. Howard ‘TNT Punch’ Action Stories Jan. [Internet] I still intends to punch his block off some day.
[UK]Essex Newsman 19 Jan. 1/7: Defendant threatened to ‘knock his block off’.
[UK]‘George Orwell’ Keep The Aspidistra Flying (1962) 193: If that man wasn’t too drunk to stand, I’d knock his block off.
[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ At Swim-Two-Birds 166: I’ll knock your bloody block off if you say another word. Apologize!
[UK]C. Day Lewis Otterbury Incident 83: The Officers of the Court then had to restrain Nick from knocking the Prune’s block off.
(con. 1944) F.A. Johnson One More Hill 169: I’ll have his heinie square block knocked off.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 332: One more squeak out of you and I’ll knock yer bloody block off.
[US]S. Longstreet Flesh Peddlers (1964) 87: Next time I meet that Cockney hamola, Ronnie Galt, I’m going to knock his block off.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 165: I shall be happy to knock his ugly block off.
[Aus]J. Davis Kullark 56: If you was a man I’d knock your block off for doing that.
[UK]Desperate Dan Special No. 7 25: Gimme that sword afore I knock yer block off!
[US]T. Udo Vatican Bloodbath 15: Ah’m gonnae knock your fuckin’ block off, ya cheeky wee shite!
[US](con. 1954) ‘Jack Tunney’ Tomato Can Comeback [ebook] You almost got your block knocked off tonight.
lose one’s block (v.) (Aus.)

to lose emotional control, to lose one’s temper.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Sept. 13/1: ‘Orright,’ sizzi, ‘don’t loosyerblock, / You’ll meeter byunbye.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Aug. 32/4: [T]hey were nine all an’ the excitement intense, the judge and ref’ree losin’ their blocks an’ barrackin’ for all they was worth.
[UK]B. Cronin Timber Wolves 218: Well, don’t lose your block, whatever you do.
[Aus]West Australian 5 Dec. 15/1: I am very, very sorry, I did not mean to do it. I lost my block.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 16/1: block phr. [...] lose your block [...] lose your temper; from C17 English word for ‘head’; eg ‘Docherty, if you used your block, boy, instead of losing it, you might yet make a boxer.’.
P. Yeldham Bitter Harvest [ebook] ‘Look, shut up, will you. Just shut up.’ ‘Don’t lose your block.'’.
off one’s block (adj.) (orig. milit.)

1. angry.

[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 26: ‘Off his block’, angry.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 105: Her boss is a moustachioed menace, who often goes off his block.

2. insane.

[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 19: BLOCK [...] – off his: to muddle, to make mistakes, to act foolishly, Also [...] any one mad or silly.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 26: ‘Off his block’, [...] off his head.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘A Good Boy’ in A Man And His Wife (1944) 73: You’d almost believe they think I’m off my block.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 199: He is – scatty, screwy [...] off his chump (head, nut, block).
[UK]R.D. Magoffin We Bushies 54: You’re off y’block begorrah!

SE in slang uses

In compounds


see separate entries.

block ornament (n.) [SE block ornament, a small piece of meat displayed on a butcher’s block]

an eccentric-looking person.

[UK]Sheffield Dly Teleg. 19 Feb. 2/6: Mtr Waddy has been the ‘block ornament’ of strange constituencies, and been poked and turned, sniffed at and thrown down again by vulgar market people.
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[Aus]Laverton Mercury (WA) 31 Oct. 3/7: Odd little bets [i.e. bits] that are raked together, for instance, are ‘block-ornaments’.

In phrases

put the blocks to (v.) (also slip someone on the blocks)

1. (US) of a man, to have sexual intercourse with.

[US]W.J. Schira diary 15 Dec. [Internet] I guess Carter the guard put the blocks to Brownie [i.e. a nurse] about 2 o’clock this morning.
[US]R. McAlmon ‘Abrupt Decision’ in A Hasty Bunch 148: I’ll bet you let Bill O’Brien put the blocks to you.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 64: The fat guy [...] who bragged that he had put the blocks to nearly every K.M. in the neighbourhood.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 113: If she could let me put the blocks to her.
[US]A. Zugsmith Beat Generation 43: Never before had he put the blocks to a fuzz’s hotsy.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 814: put the blocks to – To have intercourse.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 66: I slipped her on the blocks. / She said, ‘Young man, I’ve got the pox.’.
[US]C. Loken Come Monday Morning 67: When he first started puttin’ the blocks to ’er she was already out workin’.

2. see also under block n.6

up on (the) blocks [automobile imagery, i.e. ‘out of action’]


[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 98 Oct. 29: up on blocks adj. Of a woman. A monthly mott failure due to a recurring leak under the beetle bonnet.
personal correspondence: up on blocks – having a period (menstruating). i.e. Out of action, a bit like a car in a garage. e.g. ‘I don’t think I’ll be in luck tonight lads, the missus is up on blocks.’.
[Ire]P. Howard Miseducation of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (2004) 78: She’s up on the blocks at the moment.
[UK]P. Meditzy ‘A Day In The Life Of...’ 29 Apr. [Internet] Because she was ‘up on blocks’ (a leak from under the beetle bonnet) and my cock already looked like a ‘barbers pole’, I realised it was going to get messy.