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[gohld-brik for 1, 2; gohld-brik for 3–5] /ˈgoʊldˈbrɪk for 1, 2; ˈgoʊldˌbrɪk for 3–5/
Informal. a brick made to look like gold, sold by a swindler.
Informal. anything supposed to be valuable but which turns out to be worthless.
Also, goldbricker. Slang. a person, especially a soldier, who shirks responsibility or performs duties without proper effort or care.
verb (used without object), Slang.
to shirk responsibility or perform halfheartedly; loaf.
verb (used with object)
to swindle; cheat.
Origin of goldbrick
An Americanism dating back to 1850-55; gold + brick Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gold brick
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She acted as though someone had been tryin' to sell her a gold brick.

    Shorty McCabe Sewell Ford
  • But I don't want Paul to get away with the proceeds of the gold brick we sold Peter.

  • Now a gold brick is indestructible; you can't think of anything that would last forever like a gold brick.

    The Sleuth of St. James's Square Melville Davisson Post
  • Mrs. Morrison takes all the worry off us; she's a brick too, a gold brick!'

    A City Schoolgirl May Baldwin
  • The man who takes the gold brick always tries to hide it if he can't blame it off on his wife or sister or aunt.

    An Alabaster Box Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Florence Morse Kingsley
  • How do we know that the avouching unknown could not have been sold a gold brick?

  • Anything that suggests a gold brick is bound to scare sensible people.

    Otherwise Phyllis Meredith Nicholson
  • "It was what I was thinkin' of—gold brick," the Cap'n went on.

  • The man stared back at H. R. and, with the canvasser's professional look of congratulation, replied, "A gold brick!"

    H. R. Edwin Lefevre
British Dictionary definitions for gold brick

gold brick

something with only a superficial appearance of value
(US, slang) an idler or shirker
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gold brick



"shirker," 1914, World War I armed forces slang, from earlier verb meaning "to swindle, cheat" (1902) from the old con game of selling spurious "gold" bricks (attested by 1882).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gold brick



(also goldbricker) A shirker; a person who avoids work or duty; goof-off (WWI armed forces)


  1. : She made him promise to quit goldbricking
  2. To swindle; cheat; con (1902+)

[fr the convention of the confidence trickster who sells spurious gold bricks]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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