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[wawl] /wɔl/
any of various permanent upright constructions having a length much greater than the thickness and presenting a continuous surface except where pierced by doors, windows, etc.: used for shelter, protection, or privacy, or to subdivide interior space, to support floors, roofs, or the like, to retain earth, to fence in an area, etc.
Usually, walls. a rampart raised for defensive purposes.
an immaterial or intangible barrier, obstruction, etc., suggesting a wall:
a wall of prejudice.
a wall-like, enclosing part, thing, mass, etc.:
a wall of fire; a wall of troops.
an embankment to prevent flooding, as a levee or sea wall.
the outermost film or layer of structural material protecting, surrounding, and defining the physical limits of an object:
the wall of a blood cell.
Soccer. a line of defenders standing shoulder to shoulder in an attempt to block a free kick with their bodies.
  1. the side of a level or drift.
  2. the overhanging or underlying side of a vein; a hanging wall or footwall.
of or relating to a wall:
wall space.
growing against or on a wall:
wall plants; wall cress.
situated, placed, or installed in or on a wall:
wall oven; a wall safe.
verb (used with object)
to enclose, shut off, divide, protect, border, etc., with or as if with a wall (often followed by in or off):
to wall the yard; to wall in the play area; He is walled in by lack of opportunity.
to seal or fill (a doorway or other opening) with a wall:
to wall an unused entrance.
to seal or entomb (something or someone) within a wall (usually followed by up):
The workmen had walled up the cat quite by mistake.
climb (the) walls, Slang. to become tense or frantic:
climbing the walls with boredom.
drive / push to the wall, to force into a desperate situation; humiliate or ruin completely:
Not content with merely winning the match, they used every opportunity to push the inferior team to the wall.
go over the wall, Slang. to break out of prison:
Roadblocks have been set up in an effort to capture several convicts who went over the wall.
go to the wall,
  1. to be defeated in a conflict or competition; yield.
  2. to fail in business, especially to become bankrupt.
  3. to be put aside or forgotten.
  4. to take an extreme and determined position or measure:
    I'd go to the wall to stop him from resigning.
hit the wall, (of long-distance runners) to reach a point in a race, usually after 20 miles, when the body's fuels are virtually depleted and willpower becomes crucial to be able to finish.
off the wall, Slang.
  1. beyond the realm of acceptability or reasonableness:
    The figure you quoted for doing the work is off the wall.
  2. markedly out of the ordinary; eccentric; bizarre:
    Some of the clothes in the fashion show were too off the wall for the average customer.
up against the wall,
  1. placed against a wall to be executed by a firing squad.
  2. in a crucial or critical position, especially one in which defeat or failure seems imminent:
    Unless sales improve next month, the company will be up against the wall.
up the wall, Slang. into an acutely frantic, frustrated, or irritated state:
The constant tension in the office is driving everyone up the wall.
Origin of wall
before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English w(e)all < Latin vallum palisade, derivative of vallus stake, post; see wale1; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun
Related forms
wall-less, adjective
wall-like, adjective
unwall, verb (used with object)
2. battlement, breastwork, bulwark, barrier, bastion. 5. dike. 14. immure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wall-like
Historical Examples
  • Muriform, wall-like; resembling courses of bricks in a wall.

  • Truedale did so, and into the wall-like snow which had been falling all day.

    The Man Thou Gavest Harriet T. Comstock
  • A succession of wall-like mountains rose in two tiers before them into the clouds.

    Digging for Gold R.M. Ballantyne
  • Beyond it rose the wall-like steeps of Djebel Toweyk, so often heard of, and now seen close at hand.

    Travels in Arabia Bayard Taylor
  • It was the wall-like butt end of a huge glacier, which looked down on us from an Alpine height which was well up in the blue sky.

    A Tramp Abroad, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • To the wall-like cliffs the House Martin, Chelidon urbica, often attaches its mud-built cradle.

    British Sea Birds Charles Dixon
  • Dykes are wall-like masses of igneous strata which cut across the strata, generally at a high angle (see d, d, fig. 22).

    Geology James Geikie
  • Often they are seen in dikes and wall-like masses, intersecting fossiliferous beds.

  • On all the roads we ride daily past wall-like stone cists covered with slabs, on which the formula “Om mani padme hum” is carved.

  • Through glasses I could see the dome of the immense dining saloon, and the myriad port-holes in her wall-like side.

    An Ocean Tramp William McFee
British Dictionary definitions for wall-like


  1. a vertical construction made of stone, brick, wood, etc, with a length and height much greater than its thickness, used to enclose, divide, or support
  2. (as modifier): wall hangings, related adjective mural
(often pl) a structure or rampart built to protect and surround a position or place for defensive purposes
(anatomy) any lining, membrane, or investing part that encloses or bounds a bodily cavity or structure: abdominal wall Technical name paries, related adjective parietal
(mountaineering) a vertical or almost vertical smooth rock face
anything that suggests a wall in function or effect: a wall of fire, a wall of prejudice
bang one's head against a brick wall, to try to achieve something impossible
drive to the wall, push to the wall, to force into an awkward situation
go to the wall, to be ruined; collapse financially
(slang) drive up the wall, to cause to become crazy or furious
(slang) go up the wall, to become crazy or furious
have one's back to the wall, to be in a very difficult situation
verb (transitive)
to protect, provide, or confine with or as if with a wall
(often foll by up) to block (an opening) with a wall
often foll by in or up. to seal by or within a wall or walls
Derived Forms
walled, adjective
wall-less, adjective
wall-like, adjective
Word Origin
Old English weall, from Latin vallum palisade, from vallus stake
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 wall-like



"to enclose in a wall," late Old English *weallian, from the source of wall (n.). Related: Walled; walling.



Old English weall "rampart" (natural as well as man-made), also "defensive fortification around a city, side of a building, interior partition," an Anglo-Frisian and Saxon borrowing (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wal) from Latin vallum "wall, rampart, row or line of stakes," apparently a collective form of vallus "stake." Swedish vall, Danish val are from Low German.

In this case, English uses one word where many languages have two, e.g. German Mauer "outer wall of a town, fortress, etc.," used also in reference to the former Berlin Wall, and wand "partition wall within a building" (cf. the distinction, not always rigorously kept, in Italian muro/parete, Irish mur/fraig, Lithuanian muras/siena, etc.).

Phrase up the wall "angry, crazy" is from 1951; off the wall "unorthodox, unconventional" is recorded from 1966, American English student slang. Wall-to-wall (adj.) recorded 1953, of carpeting; metaphoric use (usually disparaging) is from 1967.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wall-like in Medicine

wall (wôl)
An investing part enclosing a cavity, chamber, or other anatomical unit.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for wall-like
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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Idioms and Phrases with wall-like
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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