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goldbrick

[gohld-brik for 1, 2; gohld-brik for 3–5]
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noun
  1. Informal. a brick made to look like gold, sold by a swindler.
  2. Informal. anything supposed to be valuable but which turns out to be worthless.
  3. Also gold·brick·er. Slang. a person, especially a soldier, who shirks responsibility or performs duties without proper effort or care.
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verb (used without object) Slang.
  1. to shirk responsibility or perform halfheartedly; loaf.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to swindle; cheat.
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Origin of goldbrick

An Americanism dating back to 1850–55; gold + brick
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for goldbrick

n.

"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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper