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.
To blunder; commit a gaffe: He rather dropped a brick when he mispronounced Lady Fuchs' name (1905+ British students)
[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]