late Old English byldan "construct a house," verb form of bold "house," from Proto-Germanic *buthlam (cf. Old Saxon bodl, Old Frisian bodel "building, house"), from PIE *bhu- "to dwell," from root *bheue- "to be, exist, grow" (see be). Rare in Old English; in Middle English it won out over more common Old English timbran (see timber). Modern spelling is unexplained. Figurative use from mid-15c. Of physical things other than buildings from late 16c. Related: Builded (archaic); built; building.
In the United States, this verb is used with much more latitude than in England. There, as Fennimore Cooper puts it, everything is BUILT. The priest BUILDS up a flock; the speculator a fortune; the lawyer a reputation; the landlord a town; and the tailor, as in England, BUILDS up a suit of clothes. A fire is BUILT instead of made, and the expression is even extended to individuals, to be BUILT being used with the meaning of formed. [Farmer, "Slang and Its Analogues," 1890]
"style of construction," 1660s, from build (v.). Earlier in this sense was built (1610s). Meaning "physical construction and fitness of a person" attested by 1981. Earliest sense, now obsolete, was "a building" (early 14c.).
To prepare someone for swindling, extortion, etc; SET someone UP (1920s+ Underworld)
[first noun sense perhaps influenced by earlier build, ''the look and shape of tailored clothing'']
among the Jews was suited to the climate and conditions of the country. They probably adopted the kind of architecture for their dwellings which they found already existing when they entered Canaan (Deut. 6:10; Num. 13:19). Phoenician artists (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:6, 18) assisted at the erection of the royal palace and the temple at Jerusalem. Foreigners also assisted at the restoration of the temple after the Exile (Ezra 3:7). In Gen. 11:3, 9, we have the first recorded instance of the erection of buildings. The cities of the plain of Shinar were founded by the descendants of Shem (10:11, 12, 22). The Israelites were by occupation shepherds and dwellers in tents (Gen. 47:3); but from the time of their entering Canaan they became dwellers in towns, and in houses built of the native limestone of Palestine. Much building was carried on in Solomon's time. Besides the buildings he completed at Jerusalem, he also built Baalath and Tadmor (1 Kings 9:15, 24). Many of the kings of Israel and Judah were engaged in erecting various buildings. Herod and his sons and successors restored the temple, and built fortifications and other structures of great magnificence in Jerusalem (Luke 21:5). The instruments used in building are mentioned as the plumb-line (Amos 7:7), the measuring-reed (Ezek. 40:3), and the saw (1 Kings 7:9). Believers are "God's building" (1 Cor. 3:9); and heaven is called "a building of God" (2 Cor. 5:1). Christ is the only foundation of his church (1 Cor. 3:10-12), of which he also is the builder (Matt. 16:18).