rock and roll

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Alternative forms[edit]


From rock (move back and forth) + and + roll; originally a verb phrase common among African Americans, meaning "to have sexual intercourse"; it was a euphemism with a hidden meaning that appeared in song titles and dance styles since the early 1930’s. As a name for a specific style of popular music from circa 1954, coined by disc jockey Alan Freed.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹɒkændˈɹəʊl/, /ˈɹɒkənˈɹəʊl/; see usage note

Usage notes[edit]

  • When pronounced, the word "and" in this phrase, as in many others, is frequently reduced to a mere /ən/ or /n/ (i.e. pronounced "rok-an-roll" or "raw-kn-roll). When this occurs, it is often reflected in contracted spellings like rock 'n' roll (see alternative forms above).


rock and roll (uncountable)

  1. A style of popular music characterized by a basic drum-beat, generally 4/4 riffs, based on (usually electric) guitar, drums, and vocals (generally with bass guitar). Generally used to refer to the 1950’s rock, and rock of its style, quite close to swing.
  2. Style of vigorous dancing associated with this 1950’s music.
  3. An intangible feeling, philosophy, belief or allegiance relating to rock music (generally from the 1970s–1980s), and heavy metal bearing certain elements of this music, pertaining to unbridled enthusiasm, cynical regard for certain Christian and authoritarian bodies, and attitudes befitting some degree of youthful debauchery. This meaning is sometimes used as an exclamation, in describing traits of certain people, and so on.
  4. (Cockney rhyming slang) dole.
  5. (Military slang, US) The full automatic fire capability selection on a selective fire weapon.



rock and roll (third-person singular simple present rocks and rolls or rock and rolls, present participle rocking and rolling or rock and rolling, simple past and past participle rocked and rolled or rock and rolled)

  1. To play rock and roll music.
  2. (slang, euphemistic) To have sex.
  3. To start, commence, begin, get moving.
    Does everyone know what car they're going in? Then let's rock and roll!

Usage notes[edit]

  • The use of this phrase as a euphemism for sexual intercourse predates the "style of music" sense above. It was originally prevalent among African Americans.




rock and roll m (uncountable)

  1. rock and roll (style of music)