The meaning of the word "block"

I guess I misunderstood the meaning of block when we are on the street and talk about directions. I thought it was like a square.
However, when I looked it up in the dictionary, I found several meanings when we talk about streets or area.
a) the distance along a city street from where one street crosses it to the next
ex. The church is down the block.
b) the four city streets that form a square around an area of buildings
ex. Let’s walk around the block.

So block could mean the square area on a map, right?

If A and B are on one street and C is around the corner on another street, then those are considered two different city blocks. The 1500 block of N. Wells St. (where all of the addresses can go from 1500 to 1599) is perpendicular to the 200 block of W. North Av. So those are considered two different city blocks.

But businesses that are across the street from each other are on the same “block.” Usually the odd numbers are on one side of the street and the even numbers are on the other side. So, for example, 1552 N Wells St might be across the street from 1549 N Wells St, but they’re on the same city block. But 219 W North Av is around the corner (and therefore on a different block) from 1552 N Wells St.

Also, the 1400 block of N. Wells St. (where all of the addresses can go from 1400 to 1499) is on the same street as the 1500s, but it is on a different block. They’re called blocks because one street runs through another street (street X runs between and perpendicular to two sections of street Y and vice versa), so the sidewalk stops where street X crosses street Y, and then the sidewalk begins again in a new block.

So when people say, “Let’s walk around the block,” (let us assume, for example, that they stepped out the front door of a building and turned left to start their walk) they’re walking up the block of one street, then left, up the block of another street, then left, down the block of another street, then left, down the block of another street, then left, back up the block of the street where they started. That’s because that entire square that they walked around is considered a block, but each side of the square is also called a block, while two parallel sides of two different squares that are across the street from each other are also considered to be on the same block. (And if you want to be technical about up and down, up the block is the direction where the address numbers go up, and down the block is the direction where the address numbers go down, but most people don’t consciously think of that when they say ‘up the block’ or ‘down the block,’ so those expressions are kind of interchangeable.)

I agree that the terminology can be a bit confusing if you think about it too hard. You would think that only the “square” would be called a “block,” but that is not the case.

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Okay, thank you very much for your constant patience. I’ve finally known that that is something I didn’t learn before. It’s kind of broaden or expand my horizons.

It reminds me of a word “crust” (of food) that my teacher told me. I’m not confident that I got the right idea about it, please correct me if I am wrong.

  1. If I’m eating a piece of bread, and I say, I don’t like the crusts. That means I’ll cut off the four sides of hard brown outer part, right?
  2. If I have a loaf of bread, then the crust means the right and left sides? (I’m not sure about this one.)
    However, banana bread doesn’t have a crust, you would say “the ends”.
  3. When we order a pizza, they have thin crust or thick crust, and let’s order cheese filled crusts.
    So, crust is a general term, but it has different meanings when it comes to the different thing.

That’s why it comes to my mind after you explaining the word “block” clearly. I called it “expanding learning”. Thank you again!!!

  1. Exactly right! But we usually call it a slice of bread. A loaf is usually cut into slices.
  2. No. Crust means hard outer layer. Planet Earth has a crust, even though 71 percent of it is covered with water.
    I would say that a loaf of banana bread has a softer, less defined crust, but it still has a crust. All of the outer surfaces of any loaf of bread, just like the edges of a slice of bread, are the crust, but at least where I come from, we call either end of a loaf of bread the heel.
  3. yeah, we call all of the bread part of a pizza the crust. Thin crust, thick crust, like you said.
    And then more specifically, the edge where there are no toppings, even if it’s filled with cheese, we call that the crust. If I ask, “Are you going to eat your crust?” I’m referring specifically to the outer edge. Some people don’t like to eat that part of the pizza, so it’s a way of saying, “Don’t throw that part away. I’ll eat it.”
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Wow, Bruce, calling the two end crusts of a loaf of bread the “heel” is a new American expression for me! :rofl:

Down in Oz, when we say we don’t like the crust (of a loaf of bread), we’re referring to the two ends of a sliced loaf.

But since I’m from the “Waste not, want not” generation, I never throw the crust away :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Ozemite, here’s a discussion about that term that you might find interesting:

my take-away is that it’s not entirely American English, since according to the OED it dates back to Chaucer’s time.

I never throw the crust away, but I’ll feed it to the birds if it’s cut very thin.

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Very entertaining article :grin: Now here was I thinking you Yanks had some foot fetish thing going with your bread…:rofl::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:but then people came up with “doupie”, “dogie end”, “humbo” - and wait for it! - “butt-end”! :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Well, here’s a funny thing. All my life I’ve known the word ‘heel’ to refer to the ends of a loaf of bread. Never gave it much thought. So I took a loaf of bread and showed it to my mom, who has dementia, and asked her what she called those end pieces. And guess what she said?

Ooh, don’t keep me in suspense! :grin: (Sorry to hear about your mum)

Crust. She said crust and she didn’t even seem to be able to recall the word heel. I don’t know that there’s any significance to that, I just thought, Huh, that’s odd.

Could be that slang words are forgotten first. Like remembering only “tomato sauce” (ketchup) instead of “dead horse”, and “telephone” instead of “the dog and bone” which we say here. Yep, we actually do say, “Pass the dead horse”!