verb (used with object)
- to be defeated in a conflict or competition; yield.
- to fail in business, especially to become bankrupt.
- to be put aside or forgotten.
- to take an extreme and determined position or measure: I'd go to the wall to stop him from resigning.
- beyond the realm of acceptability or reasonableness: The figure you quoted for doing the work is off the wall.
- markedly out of the ordinary; eccentric; bizarre: Some of the clothes in the fashion show were too off the wall for the average customer.
- placed against a wall to be executed by a firing squad.
- 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.
Origin of wall
Synonyms for wall
Related Words for wallbar, fence, barrier, dam, screen, surface, barricade, embankment, facade, side, block, restriction, hurdle, rampart, enclosure, fortification, stop, blockade, bank, panel
Examples from the Web for wall
Contemporary Examples of wall
A Wall Street person should not be allowed to help oversee the Dodd-Frank reforms.Antonio Weiss Is Not Part of the Problem
January 7, 2015
It reminded me a bit of an alternative take on The Wolf of Wall Street—through the Toni and Candace lens.Coffee Talk with Fred Armisen: On ‘Portlandia,’ Meeting Obama, and Taylor Swift’s Greatness
January 7, 2015
The Wolf of Wall Street is a dangerous, incendiary work of art.Coffee Talk with Ethan Hawke: On ‘Boyhood,’ Jennifer Lawrence, and Bill Clinton’s Urinal Exchange
December 27, 2014
“It is not about Crimea, the West wants our skins hanging on the wall,” he said.After His Disastrous Annual Press Conference, Putin Needs A Hug
December 18, 2014
Is it on the side of the people or Wall Street and the big banks?‘Cromnibus’ Passes, But Did Anyone Win?
December 12, 2014
Historical Examples of wall
Percival, with his new air of Wall Street operator, was inclined to hesitate.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
It's lucky the captain knows nothing of my Wall Street speculations.Brave and Bold
We'll put it across that corner, and have the couch against that wall.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
Take my bridle off the wall, you, Jeff, and throw it at my feet.Way of the Lawless
On the wall opposite the house the name of "Gladstone" is carved.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
- 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
- (as modifier)wall hangings Related adjective: mural
Word Origin for wall
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.
"to enclose in a wall," late Old English *weallian, from the source of wall (n.). Related: Walled; walling.
In addition to the idioms beginning with wall
- walls have ears, the
- back to the wall
- beat one's head against the wall
- between you and me and the lamppost (four walls)
- climb the walls
- drive someone crazy (up the wall)
- fly on the wall
- go to the wall
- handwriting on the wall
- hole in the wall
- off the wall
- run into a stone wall