What is Rock?

So what is rock.  As in a Fossil who.  Rocks.  It is almost beyond me to explain.  Which is no admission for a writer. I wouldn’t use the age old expression: “Well if you have to ask, you will never get it.” I might think it – but I would never say it.

So an explanation. In a tidy, methodical (and I suspect) slightly unrocking way – let’s start with the dictionary. In mine Rock appears between rochet (a white surplice (dress) mainly worn by bishops) and rocket (a projectile driven by reaction).  In a world where position can matter I wonder whether spending life categorised between driven projectiles and man frocks has an impact.  When I see a rock I will ask.

Here however we are not dealing with rock the noun but rock the verb.  As in action.  I had thought it could be an adjective.  Describing what fossils do.  Or can do.  But no Fossils who Rock are doing. 

Rock the verb.  TO cause to move to and fro (as in a cradle).  No.  To cause to shake vibrate sway etc, violently.  No.  Dictionary not helping.  Rock gets a bad press later in the page too – on the rocks, rock bottom.  No wonder rocket comes next – what a relief.  Only known form of propulsion that can be used in a vacuum apparently.  Not sure I agree with that.  I have considered various jobs I have had vacuous and I have operated/been used. And I’m not a rocket.  That sounds terrible but you get my drift.

So moving on to say – rocket man (annexed by pop stars we love) has landed in the zeitgeist and everyone (who matters) gets it.  We need to save rock.  I need a better dictionary.

Turning to the google. 

Rock has various definitions as a slang word. One entry says: People use “rocked” when speaking of something that they did very well at or did very bad. 

Well myself I think that page of google needs an editor who rocks grammar.

And then there is slang – what is this phenomena. So last century – I know slang used to be bad in 1950s Mallory Towers.  Something an aspiring young lady did not use.  Hardly gets a mention now as a thing but here it is very useful.  To a point.  Speak of something you did very well at.  You rock.  So, a Fossil who Rocks does very well at being a fossil.  We are getting there.  No Rocking Fossil “did [something] very bad”.  Not in print anyway.

Further into the google (the urban dictionary) tells us:


It’s a great compliment. (we know that bit). It means that you are someone that they can confide in, open up to, rely on. You support them when they fall. That person holds them together no matter what. 

Which again isn’t quite it.  But this is where someone is described as a rock.  A thing, clearly useful to the soul who needs them.

So let’s just keep the compliment bit.  Not sure Rocking Fossils want to be confided in, or relied upon by the falling.  They may do and be these things but it is not their purpose, or definition. 

Back to rock the verb then.  The Cambridge dictionary is clear.  Dictionary like then. It tells us:

Rock the verb is to move – to cause someone or something to move.  So far so good.  But it goes on: backwards and forwards or from side to side in a regular way.  MMMM no.  Not regular, not backwards and forwards (repetitive and dull) (mostly). 

It does go on:

Rock the verb can also mean to wear successfully.  That is more like it.  It actually says

to wear a particular style of clothing, etc. and look good or fashionable

There are celebrities over 40 years old who can still rock a tattoo.

Quite judgy (and perhaps ageist but hell that’s fine) but explicit.  And finally (without the ageism) getting us to a definition. 

Macmillan is quite helpful:

Rock is transitive.  (That sounds better than repetitive).  Can mean to  shocksurprise, or frighten someone.  As in

Spain has been rocked by another political scandal.

And then

fashion speak for ‘wear a particular kind of clothes

Our favorite bloggers are rocking them, and we’re oBsSeSeDd with them… S.T.R.I.P.E.S!!!

I hate to disagree with a dictionary but bloggers rocking clothes is the tip of the iceberg.  (I would also like to point out that it’s (probably young) editors need some coaching in the use of the CAPS key and punctuation)(and spelling).  But I could annexe a bit of this. 

So in a 21st century tv show way let’s summarise the best bits.. Fossils rock life.  Their lives.  They are action.  They do it very well.  To say you rock something is a great compliment. They wear it successfully.  They can be transitive.  They may shock and surprise. And they are of a particular kind and live a particular life.

I could have just put that paragraph under the title and left it at that.  But what fun would that be.  So even if I am explaining it very badly and slowly – that is Rock as in Rocking Fossil.