[ 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 gold·brick·er. 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.

Nearby words

  1. goldberger,
  2. goldberger, joseph,
  3. goldbergian,
  4. goldblatt kidney,
  5. goldblatt phenomenon,
  6. goldbug,
  7. goldcrest,
  8. goldcup,
  9. golden,
  10. golden age

Origin of goldbrick

An Americanism dating back to 1850–55; gold + brick Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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

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