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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. 2018.
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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.

  • A gold brick from a run of the mill was kept on a counter in the store.

    The Pinos Altos Story Dorothy Watson
  • Mrs. Morrison takes all the worry off us; she's a brick too, a gold brick!'

    A City Schoolgirl May Baldwin
  • How do we know that the avouching unknown could not have been sold a gold brick?

  • I had flown; so had the gold brick, the jewelled belt, and the silver statuette.

    A Thief in the Night E. W. Hornung
  • "It was what I was thinkin' of—gold brick," the Cap'n went on.

  • It took him a very short time to discover that he had purchased a gold brick.

    Ben Blair Will Lillibridge
  • In The gold brick he describes a municipal campaign, as seen from the point of view of the newspaper office.

    Americans All Various
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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