I would like to know what "lines around the block" means.

Fifty years ago this week, Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" opened to mixed reviews and hundreds of audience walkouts at its premiere. That weekend, though, the general public weighed in with lines around the block. By the end of 1968, the 2 1/2-hour science fiction epic ended up being the year's biggest box office hit. Critic Bob Mondello saw "2001" when it first came out and remembers what made it one of the most argued over and most influential blockbusters ever made.What Made '2001, A Space Odyssey' Such An Influential Film

I looked for 'around the block' and the dictionary says:

around the block: Very experienced. The phrase can be used in two ways. In its nonpejorative sense, you might say, “After all her residencies and years at the hospital, she's been around the block in emergency medicine.” On the other hand, to say of a woman that she's been around the block more than a few times suggests that she's of what used to be called “easy virtue.”Free Dictionary

I am still not sure what "lines around the block" means. please help me. Thank you.

  • 2
    I believe in the excerpt about Space Odyssey it just mean that it was so successful that people were literally standing in lines to buy tickets. So it just means that literally there were lines of people around the block. Apr 5, 2018 at 7:53
  • Hard as it may seem to believe, people once stood in line to watch movies.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 5, 2018 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


In general, this is interpreted to mean “very long lines of people waiting to get in”. In dense cities, it could be very literal, as such long lines would not be permitted to cross streets (thus blocking vehicular traffic), and would instead be kept on the same city block. (Personal anecdote: I recall once seeing a line that did this more than once - it was for one of the Harry Potter movies.)

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