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[brik] /brɪk/
a block of clay hardened by drying in the sun or burning in a kiln, and used for building, paving, etc.: traditionally, in the U.S., a rectangle 2.25 × 3.75 × 8 inches (5.7 × 9.5 × 20.3 cm), red, brown, or yellow in color.
such blocks collectively.
the material of which such blocks are made.
any block or bar having a similar size and shape:
a gold brick; an ice-cream brick.
the length of a brick as a measure of thickness, as of a wall:
one and a half bricks thick.
Informal. an admirably good or generous person.
Informal. an electronic device that has become completely nonfunctional.
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.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English brike < Middle Dutch bricke; akin to break
Related forms
bricklike, brickish, adjective
unbricked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for bricks
  • It is made of microscopic calcium carbonate tiles stacked like bricks.
  • Two distinct categories of etailers are pure plays and bricks and clicks.
  • It has been used to make materials ranging from bricks to porcelain.
  • The bricks often have added lime, ash, and organic matter to speed the burning.
  • They are usable across this range as they are lighter than clay bricks.
  • In the united kingdom, bricks have been used in construction for centuries.
  • Until recently, many houses were built almost entirely from red bricks.
  • Exports included wheat, wool, cloth, cement, bricks and tiles.
  • Unusual uses is finding unusual uses for common everyday objects such as bricks.
  • The bricks are typically replaced every five years due to thermal fatigue.
British Dictionary definitions for bricks


  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 block: a brick of ice
bricks collectively
(informal) a reliable, trustworthy, or helpful person
(Brit) a child's building block
short for brick red
(Brit, informal) drop a brick, to make a tactless or indiscreet remark
(informal) like a ton of bricks, (used esp of the manner of punishing or reprimanding someone) with great force; severely: when he spotted my mistake he came down on me like a ton of bricks
verb (transitive)
usually foll by in, up or over. to construct, line, pave, fill, or wall up with bricks: to brick up a window, brick over a patio
(slang) to attack (a person) with a brick or bricks
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for bricks



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
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Slang definitions & phrases for bricks


  1. A decent, generous, reliable person (1830s+ British students)
  2. A kilogram (2.2 pounds) of tightly compacted marijuana (1970s+ Narcotics)
  3. Avery inaccurate basketball shot (1980s+ Students)
Related Terms

drop a brick, hit someone like a ton of bricks, hit the bricks, press the bricks, shit a brick, three bricks shy of a load

[first sense said to be a clever student version of Aristotle's phrase tetragonos aner, ''four-sided man, foursquare man,'' used in the Nichomachean Ethics to describe a person of public merit whose praise might appear on a square monument of tribute]

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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bricks in the Bible

the making of, formed the chief labour of the Israelites in Egypt (Ex. 1:13, 14). Those found among the ruins of Babylon and Nineveh are about a foot square and four inches thick. They were usually dried in the sun, though also sometimes in kilns (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 43:9; Nah. 3:14). (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR.) The bricks used in the tower of Babel were burnt bricks, cemented in the building by bitumen (Gen. 11:3).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with bricks
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for bricks


structural clay products, manufactured as standard units, used in building construction.

Learn more about brick with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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