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brick

[brik]
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noun
  1. a block of clay hardened by drying in the sun or burning in a kiln, and used for building, paving, etc.: traditionally, in the U.S., a rectangle 2.25 × 3.75 × 8 inches (5.7 × 9.5 × 20.3 cm), red, brown, or yellow in color.
  2. such blocks collectively.
  3. the material of which such blocks are made.
  4. any block or bar having a similar size and shape: a gold brick; an ice-cream brick.
  5. the length of a brick as a measure of thickness, as of a wall: one and a half bricks thick.
  6. Informal. an admirably good or generous person.
  7. Informal. an electronic device that has become completely nonfunctional.
verb (used with object)
  1. to pave, line, wall, fill, or build with brick.
  2. Informal. to cause (an electronic device) to become completely nonfunctional: I bricked my phone while doing the upgrade.
adjective
  1. made of, constructed with, or resembling bricks.
Idioms
  1. drop a brick, to make a social gaffe or blunder, especially an indiscreet remark.
  2. hit the bricks,
    1. to walk the streets, especially as an unemployed or homeless person.
    2. to go on strike: With contract talks stalled, workers are threatening to hit the bricks.
    Also take to the bricks.
  3. make bricks without straw,
    1. to plan or act on a false premise or unrealistic basis.
    2. to create something that will not last: To form governments without the consent of the people is to make bricks without straw.
    3. to perform a task despite the lack of necessary materials.

Origin of brick

1400–50; late Middle English brike < Middle Dutch bricke; akin to break
Related formsbrick·like, brick·ish, adjectiveun·bricked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for make bricks without straw

brick

noun
    1. a rectangular block of clay mixed with sand and fired in a kiln or baked by the sun, used in building construction
    2. (as modifier)a brick house
  1. the material used to make such blocks
  2. any rectangular blocka brick of ice
  3. bricks collectively
  4. informal a reliable, trustworthy, or helpful person
  5. British a child's building block
  6. short for brick red
  7. drop a brick British informal to make a tactless or indiscreet remark
  8. like a ton of bricks informal (used esp of the manner of punishing or reprimanding someone) with great force; severelywhen he spotted my mistake he came down on me like a ton of bricks
verb (tr)
  1. (usually foll by in, up or over) to construct, line, pave, fill, or wall up with bricksto brick up a window; brick over a patio
  2. slang to attack (a person) with a brick or bricks

Word Origin

C15: from Old French brique, from Middle Dutch bricke; related to Middle Low German brike, Old English brecan to break
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

Word Origin and History for make bricks without straw

brick

n.

early 15c., from Old French briche "brick," probably from a Germanic source akin to Middle Dutch bricke "a tile," literally "a broken piece," from the verbal root of break (v.). Meaning "a good, honest fellow" is from 1840, probably on notion of squareness (e.g. fair and square) though most extended senses of brick (and square) applied to persons in English are not meant to be complimentary. Brick wall in the figurative sense of "impenetrable barrier" is from 1886.

brick

v.

"to wall up with bricks," 1640s, from brick (n.). Related: Bricked; bricking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with make bricks without straw

make bricks without straw

Perform a task without essential materials or means, as in Writing a report without the current data is making bricks without straw. This expression alludes to straw as a material necessary in early brick manufacturing. [Early 1600s]

brick

In addition to the idioms beginning with brick

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.