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 that appeared in song titles since at least 1914 (Trixie Smith's "My Man Rocks Me With One Steady Roll").

As a name for a specific style of popular music from the early 1950s, coined by disc jockey Alan Freed in reference to the euphemistic use in song titles.


  • 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 is sometimes taken to encompass a particular style of music from roughly the mid-40s to the middle of the 1960s. It is otherwise taken to be largely synonymous with rock music, which encompasses a much wider range of more modern styles.


rock and roll ‎(uncountable)

  1. A genre of popular music that evolved in the 1950s from a combination of rhythm and blues and country music, characterized by electric guitars, strong rhythms, and youth-oriented lyrics.
  2. A style of vigorous dancing associated with this genre of 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. (slang, euphemistic, 1920s, African American Vernacular) To have sex.
  2. To play rock and roll music.
  3. To start, commence, begin, get moving.
    Does everyone know what car they're going in? Then let's rock and roll!



  • 2001. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: North America. Garland Publishing. Ellen Koskoff (Ed.). Pg. 347.



rock and roll m (uncountable)

  1. rock and roll (style of music)