verb (used with object)

to pave, line, wall, fill, or build with brick.
Informal. to cause (an electronic device) to become completely nonfunctional: I bricked my phone while doing the upgrade.


made of, constructed with, or resembling bricks.


    drop a brick, to make a social gaffe or blunder, especially an indiscreet remark.
    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.
    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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brick

Contemporary Examples of brick

Historical Examples of brick

  • In the beginning, a star, when drawn with a nail into a brick looked as follows.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • What others had done in brick he could do with the help of more costly materials.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • You do like I tells yer, or yer'll git yer eggercation wid a brick.

    A Night Out

    Edward Peple

  • I was right by his very side at the time, and see him see the brick and see him reconnize it.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • They are exceedingly fine and cost one hundred dollars a brick.

British Dictionary definitions for brick



  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
the material used to make such blocks
any rectangular blocka brick of ice
bricks collectively
informal a reliable, trustworthy, or helpful person
British a child's building block
short for brick red
drop a brick British informal to make a tactless or indiscreet remark
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)

(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
slang to attack (a person) with a brick or bricks

Word Origin for brick

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 brick

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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with brick


In addition to the idioms beginning with brick

  • bricks and mortar
  • bricks shy of a load

also see:

  • drop a brick
  • hit the bricks
  • like a cat on a hot brick
  • like a ton of bricks
  • make bricks without straw
  • run into a stone (brick) wall
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.