Definition of brick in English:



  • 1A small rectangular block typically made of fired or sun-dried clay, used in building.

    • ‘Common building materials are concrete blocks and bricks.’
    • ‘The production cost was higher than that of clay bricks.’
    • ‘Newer houses have walls made of adobe blocks or bricks, with roofs of corrugated zinc or cement.’
    • ‘Mud and wattle or sun-dried bricks are used in house building in rural areas; well-off families may use concrete blocks.’
    • ‘In Guinea, most new small buildings are made of badly fired bricks, and have corrugated metal roofs.’
    • ‘We all need some knowledge of the bricks before we start building.’
    • ‘Ivy will not harm fired clay bricks, nor will it cause mortar to crumble unless the mortar is already unsound.’
    • ‘Later, baked clay bricks were used for walling.’
    • ‘Cracked mortar between bricks should also be repointed by carefully removing and replacing any unsound mortar.’
    • ‘Clay walls may be molded by hand or with wooden forms; it may be preformed into bricks and sun-dried.’
    • ‘This restraining edge is necessary because mortarless bricks tend to shift at the edges.’
    • ‘It looked as if it had been dug and then lined with bricks of clay.’
    • ‘Thick smooth bricks suggested a building of some sort.’
    • ‘Most buildings are made of bricks and concrete, while others are made of adobe-style mud.’
    • ‘Missing parts were not imitated but added in a modern way, often using the rubble bricks of destroyed buildings.’
    • ‘Use paving bricks or blocks around the edge to prevent the dog from injuring itself on the edge of the chicken wire.’
    • ‘Brick saws can be used to cut bricks, pavers, stones, large quarry tiles and other masonry.’
    • ‘For brick, concrete and cinder block, only latex should be used.’
    • ‘It was the only building with glaringly bright light shining though the spaces between the bricks of the building.’
    • ‘He mixed the sand with clay to form bricks, which were then heated to high temperatures.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]Bricks collectively as a building material.
      ‘this mill was built of brick’
      [as modifier] ‘a large brick building’
      • ‘As growth continued, substantial brick and stone buildings replaced frontier tents and shanties.’
      • ‘A small fire rose in the brick fire place, growing stronger and hotter.’
      • ‘The primary building material was large adobe brick, and huge pyramids towered above the city.’
      • ‘First, be sure to take into account the fixed colors of your home - brick, stone work and the roof color.’
      • ‘Woodlawn is brick, a building material rarely used in early nineteenth-century Maine where lumber was so plentiful.’
      • ‘It is fitted with a brick fireplace with gas fire inset and has views over the side gardens.’
      • ‘In the town square, autumn sun softens the old stone and brick buildings.’
      • ‘Storage of solar heat occurs in a dense mass materials like concrete, brick and water.’
      • ‘Present-day government buildings are often old brick edifices left over from the Soviet period.’
      • ‘It is one of the few remaining brick and stucco depot buildings remaining in south Alabama.’
      • ‘Other massive materials, such as brick and stone, also store the sun's heat and add mass to a building's interior.’
      • ‘Wall materials such as stucco, cement, brick, plaster, stone, and block are most resistant to high temperatures.’
      • ‘It was a nice road with old brick and stone buildings with cobblestone roads and sidewalks.’
      • ‘The Doyle Hall was a modern five-story brick building, with balconies.’
      • ‘The apartments are laid out in two three-storey buildings with rustic brick elevations and mansard type roofs.’
      • ‘They were walking toward a short small building made of a type of brick looking material.’
      • ‘While it dates back to 1879, there's no quaint Main Street lined with old brick buildings.’
      • ‘It sat as an empty shell from 1965 to 1978, a vacant, desolate, boarded up old brick building.’
      • ‘It was a building of stone and brick with no tell-tale signs of any real life, however, inside there was.’
      • ‘Preferred materials are stone and adobe brick fortified by heavy timbers.’
    2. 1.2A small rectangular object.
      ‘a brick of ice cream’
      • ‘But is there a cure to melt the whole of this brick of ice within me?’
      • ‘The large golden bricks were more than twice her size and she looked up at them and smiled.’
      • ‘Get a brick of white, scent-free glycerin soap from the craft store.’
      • ‘He brings her a mug of coffee with a brick of imported truffle chocolate floating in the middle.’
      • ‘Rather, a brick of five or seven cartridges are collectively shrink-wrapped together.’
      • ‘A shipment of coffee mugs should include a single-pot brick of coffee.’
      • ‘I attempted to respond, but it was if I was encased in a brick of glass.’
      • ‘None of us came from the womb clutching a bottle of Cab and a big brick of English cheddar.’
      • ‘Sure, he was cool when he sported that brick of a cell phone while strolling on the beach.’
      • ‘After six quick moves with the knife, he is left with a brick of potato.’
      • ‘I went to the open wall-safe and liberated its contents: to wit, several stout bricks of high-denomination Pound notes.’
      • ‘She remembered selling him a brick of hash out of the broken down toilet stall.’
      • ‘After the 90 minutes, place a brick of dough between two sheets of wax paper.’
      • ‘How many people would feel worse off if someone threw a brick of gold through their front window?’
      • ‘He snapped the cylinder into his curved brick of a weapon, stepped back and let the fireworks chatter.’
      • ‘Meat loaf, once a loathed, dry brick of protein, now enjoys more respect, if only for its retro-cool quotient.’
      • ‘Think of a beautiful counter with nothing to chop on it, except a brick of ice.’
      • ‘The tuna in question is a brick of sushi-grade bluefin toro, seared on one side only.’
      • ‘I sigh and walk back to the benches, where Steven had laid down his brick of a book.’
      • ‘I was enjoying the moment of drowsy bliss before reality hit me like a brick of lead.’
    3. 1.3British A child's toy building block.
      ‘the bricks and other plastic toys then need to be fitted back into their appropriate containers’
      • ‘She had been carefully constructing a building using a selection of wooden bricks of various shapes.’
      • ‘We hadn't come 5,000 miles to a land of forests to spend our time pining for theme parks made out of little plastic bricks.’
      • ‘They're designed to fit together in a stack, just like the famous Danish plastic bricks.’
      • ‘Thanks to his wooden toy bricks, he had mastered ‘the laws of practical stability in towers and arches’.’
      • ‘He aimed to make plastic bricks, but in a jumbo size suitable for very young children.’
  • 2informal A large and relatively heavy mobile phone, typically an early model with limited functionality.

    ‘I had one of those Motorola bricks as my first cell phone’
    • ‘I have been longtime Moto user, way back to the huge white phone with the big black antennae, a real brick.’
    • ‘I remember my Dad bringing home a big brick cell phone in the 80s.’
    • ‘It was a large brick with a massive battery issued by someone like Motorola.’
    • ‘Apple takes you back to when a mobile phone was a brick, not the neat little gadgets they are now.’
    • ‘The classic brick phone had an LED screen and boasted 30 minutes of talk time with eight hours of standby.’
    • ‘I've had a mobile phone for ten years. Not the same phone, obviously. My first one was a brick.’
    • ‘The idea was born when mobile phones were bricks and Macs seemed to share the same product design as Fisher Price.’
    • ‘If I were PM, I'd make it illegal for any child under 16 to own more than a basic brick mobile phone.’
    • ‘His best phone was a massive old brick.’
    • ‘The first hand-held phones, affectionately known as "bricks", were still big and bulky, only made voice calls, and cost more than $4000.’
    • ‘You were lucky to have a flip phone, I had one of those Motorola bricks as my first cell phone.’
    • ‘I don't see us returning to the giant brick of a phone like the earliest models.’
    1. 2.1A smartphone or other electronic device that has completely ceased to function.
      ‘while updating the firmware the USB cable got disconnected and the phone is now a brick’
      • ‘If you can't recover your ID or re-set your password, it's a brick.’
      • ‘The update downloaded and said to restart my phone. I did and now it's a brick.’
      • ‘I need to somehow upgrade my Android 2.2 to 2.3 or higher - not as easy as you think without turning your cell into a brick.’
      • ‘I've been nervous about rooting because my friend turned his phone into a brick.’
      • ‘If that isn't working your Windows 8 phone is going to turn into a brick.’
      • ‘The 4.0.1 update has turned my phone into a brick.’
      • ‘My 2 month old Xperia ZR is now a brick.’
      • ‘I went to update my operating system last night and my phone is now a brick.’
      • ‘My phone is a brick and I really just don't understand what I can't do to fix it.’
      • ‘Cracked screens, broken casings and malfunctioning operating systems short-circuited by moisture damage or dust infiltration can cause massive headaches and turn an expensive device into a useless brick.’
  • 3British informal, dated A generous, helpful, and reliable person.

    ‘‘You are really a brick, Vi,’ Gloria said’
    • ‘James was a brick, he helped anyway he could and managed to get me the tablets and stuff I needed.’
    • ‘She really is a brick.’
    • ‘Mr. Hall is such a brick, that when we get back he is going to take us all in.’
    • ‘He's a brick, a chip off the old block, a good 'un.’
    • ‘Large, jolly and boisterous, Carol is regarded as something of a brick, and there are sound reasons for the affection she commands.’


  • 1Block or enclose with a wall of bricks.

    ‘the doors have been bricked up’
    • ‘They have food, shelter, and facilities, yet all doors are locked, all windows bricked over and no way out.’
    • ‘But because they're often paved, bricked, or tiled, they have a tendency to look cold and uninviting.’
    • ‘Cops went running past, as the assassin walked into a small red bricked building.’
    • ‘The car pulled closer to a three story bricked building.’
    • ‘Clutching her handbag, she opens the car door swiftly and steps onto the red bricked driveway.’
    • ‘I arrived in the green bricked hall, and was quickly let in by the tall man at the booth.’
    • ‘I'm not quite ready to be bricked into a forgotten wine cellar together for eternity.’
    • ‘The building's windows and doors were bricked in, and there didn't seem to be any other way inside.’
    • ‘Some of the once grand buildings of the town are sadly bricked up, but they still retain their beauty.’
    • ‘You'll find a maze of alcoves in a candle-lit cellar, bricked, arched and genuinely antique.’
    • ‘The teasing smell didn't have an effect on the cold warrior as he ambled through the uneven grey, bricked street.’
    • ‘Those windows were bricked in because to do so was far cheaper than making the needed structural repairs.’
    • ‘But when the ramparts went up they bricked up all the stations underneath them.’
    • ‘What really happened in this house seven years ago, and why is part of the basement bricked up?’
    • ‘A cup found bricked into the original kitchen hearth is both remnant and confirmation of an early custom.’
    • ‘Some of the doors were bolted shut, some were bricked up.’
    • ‘We walked along with out a word, until we got to a red bricked apartment building.’
    • ‘The walls were bricked but filled with sports pictures and the booths were all different colors.’
    • ‘Before you can leave the gym, you have to go through a nicely bricked breezeway.’
    • ‘Well, look for a big brown bricked building with a huge campus.’
  • 2British informal Throw bricks at.

    ‘the pub was attacked and windows in the area were bricked’
    • ‘The robocops appeared from nowhere and got bricked and bottled but managed to block us in.’
    • ‘This amazing building has just been erected, and then a few weeks later, some mindless yobs graffiti the walls and brick the windows.’
    • ‘In Chapelfields last night, a vehicle was damaged as youths held a wire or rope in front of it, and in Danebury Drive, Acomb, a bus was bricked.’
    • ‘The cheek of this man to accuse Barnsley fans of violence is breathtaking—presumably it was Barnsley fans who bricked their own team bus after the game at Anfield and not Liverpool fans?’
    • ‘We then started bricking the coaches as they slowly went past, one after the other.’
    • ‘The action threat follows an incident on Saturday night when a Stagecoach service was bricked as it travelled down Bowerham Road towards Lancaster city centre.’
    • ‘She had just sped off on her bicycle after bricking a window.’
  • 3informal Cause (a smartphone or other electronic device) to become completely unable to function, typically on a permanent basis.

    ‘installing an unofficial OS voids the warranty and may brick the phone’
    • ‘Bby hacking your standard model, you run the chance of bricking your phone the next time it's updated, potentially voiding your warranty at the same time.’
    • ‘I called customer service and their suggestions bricked the phone.’
    • ‘This update can brick your phone.’
    • ‘Proceed at your own risk, and if you permanently brick your phone, we can't help you.’
    • ‘Many computers include recovery features in their BIOS that allow them to recover from an interrupted BIOS flash that would normally brick the device.’
    • ‘Note that any interruption at this point - reboot, disconnection from PC or power off - will permanently brick the device.’
    • ‘We always recommend that your device has at least 80% battery charge before you begin to avoid the possibility of bricking your phone if it turns off during installation.’
    • ‘I know the bootloader won't be unlocked anymore, but is there a possibility that I could brick my phone?’
    • ‘The last time we did a major over-the-air update on a phone, it bricked a perfectly good Sony Ericsson.’
    • ‘Not all ROMs work on all phones and you can definitely brick your phone by failing to flash a ROM correctly.’
  • 4British vulgar slang Be extremely worried or nervous.


  • a brick short of a load

  • bricks and mortar

    • 1Buildings, typically housing.

      ‘untold acres are being buried under bricks and mortar’
      • ‘We have over 20 million customers, between software, Internet, and bricks and mortar.’
      • ‘That means we will enjoy three times the profitability of traditional bricks and mortar grocers.’
      • ‘Direct sales - which includes the bricks and mortar retail stores - was up 45 per cent for the quarter.’
      • ‘There would be no need to pay for the bricks and mortar and the other services provided by traditional colleges.’
      • ‘These retailers do not carry an inventory and most of them do not have a bricks and mortar store.’
      1. 1.1A house considered in terms of its value as an investment.
        ‘a simple re-mortgage can release the value tied up in your bricks and mortar’
        • ‘We employ Inuit people and we've invested in bricks and mortar in Nunavut.’
        • ‘But I took stock of what our real assets were, not just bricks and mortar, but what we had.’
        • ‘Others said that in uncertain times for equity markets investors would still favour investing in bricks and mortar.’
        • ‘People preferred to invest in bricks and mortar rather than in volatile equities.’
        • ‘Most aim to help producers gain more clout in the marketplace without investing in bricks and mortar.’
        • ‘Investment in bricks and mortar made by private companies is good.’
      2. 1.2[as modifier]Used to denote a business that operates conventionally rather than (or as well as) over the Internet.
        ‘the bricks-and-mortar banks’
        • ‘Smart retailers are exploiting their Web savvy to bolster their bricks-and-mortar operations.’
        • ‘Marketers have to be careful about comparing Internet shopping with bricks-and-mortar shopping, LaPointe warned.’
        • ‘But other bricks-and-mortar businesses have found a home in cyberspace.’
        • ‘Highly digitized, the transaction process is conceptually similar for both the bricks-and-mortar and the virtual banks.’
        • ‘Business is business, no matter whether it's bricks-and-mortar or cyberspace-based.’
  • brick by brick

    • A little bit at a time.

      ‘he built IBM brick by brick from an agglomeration of small enterprises’
      • ‘We think Leeds will recover step by step and brick by brick.’
      • ‘On 12 August, Ben Smith wrote a column in The Guardian in which he took the politician apart, brick by brick.’
      • ‘They were the ones who were laying the foundations of the Party, brick by brick, and without their help no leader could accomplish anything.’
      • ‘Propagandists exhorted the weary populace to rebuild the country, which they did, brick by brick, despite the harangues.’
      • ‘The solution is to undo the last 35 years, brick by brick.’
      • ‘Well, in presidential politics, candidates are starting to rake in important endorsements, one frontrunner seemingly building a campaign brick by brick.’
      • ‘We built this campaign brick by brick, making real contact with every school and nursery in the city.’
      • ‘People forget that the career that they built was brick by brick.’
      • ‘We're going to have to rebuild that confidence brick by brick.’
      • ‘Brick by brick, we need to build a grass roots movement to retake America from the corporate warmongers now in power.’
  • come up against (or hit) a brick wall

    • Face an insuperable problem or obstacle while trying to do something.

      ‘at this age when you come up against a brick wall, you do sometimes feel like screaming with frustration’
      • ‘When you talk to your partner, it feels as though you're hitting a brick wall.’
      • ‘I'm hitting a brick wall in trying to choose a good school and getting the hands-on experience I need.’
      • ‘We stood up to the competition and delivered a good service, but we hit a brick wall.’
      • ‘Sadly, this approach seemingly hit a brick wall too.’
      • ‘Each time he tried to get in, it was as if he were hitting a brick wall.’
      • ‘I have talked to many people, but I keep hitting a brick wall.’
      • ‘Will efforts to end the election crisis hit a brick wall?’
      • ‘How will you respond when the new market segment hits a brick wall?’
      • ‘But growth in the domestic cider market looks to have hit a brick wall.’
      • ‘The dancer's biggest frustrations surface when she hits a brick wall with a choreographer and nothing seems to work.’
  • like a ton of bricks

    • With crushing weight, force, or authority.

      ‘the FA came down on him like a ton of bricks’
      • ‘The hustle and bustle of the birthday party hit him like a ton of bricks.’
      • ‘Then my father's word hit me like a ton of bricks.’
      • ‘As she stared at her reflection in the mirror, the enormity of the situation fell around her like a ton of bricks.’
      • ‘When I first heard that, it hit me like a ton of bricks.’
      • ‘Revelation hits like a ton of bricks - you could totally see it in his eyes.’
      • ‘When you learned that he had given an alleged confession, that must have hit like a ton of bricks.’
      • ‘Realization hit Josh like a ton of bricks.’
      • ‘Realization hit her like a ton of bricks and she staggered under the weight of it.’
      • ‘I desperately tried to remember what had happened last night and suddenly, it fell upon me like a ton of bricks.’
      • ‘The words hit me like a ton of bricks, like a bomb.’
      sharply, roundly, soundly, fiercely, scathingly, savagely
      View synonyms
  • london to a brick on

    • informal Used to indicate that something is certain or highly probable.

      ‘I will bet you London to a brick on that this goes nowhere’
      • ‘We could have saved thousands of tax payer dollars as far as the surplus goes, but I bet you London to a brick it won't be achieved.’
      • ‘I'll bet London to a brick he will return coaching.’
      • ‘It was London to a brick that Woods would take this Masters, but he never got really close.’
      • ‘Given the defensive posture, it's London to a brick that Rogers will go to 13.’
      • ‘It was a good rally today but London to a brick on I will only get back half of what was lost yesterday.’
      • ‘You can bet London to a brick Harris will break down soon.’
      • ‘Ask people who have played both league and union and I'll bet London to a brick that the majority prefer to play union.’
      • ‘I would lay London to a brick that that circumstance won't prevail much longer.’
      • ‘I'm prepared to bet London to a brick she won't win gold!’
      • ‘I bet London to a brick there will be something very unsavoury between her and the creepy father.’
  • you can't make bricks without straw

    • proverb Nothing can be made or accomplished without proper or adequate material or information.

      • ‘It's no good trying to build a website if you don't know any html, you can't make bricks without straw.’
      • ‘The law of value will still be there reminding us that, even under socialism, you can't make bricks without straw.’
      • ‘For our enterprises, ‘One can't make bricks without straw’ is no longer a solid excuse.’
      • ‘You can't make bricks without straw and you can't portray a character just by making him up from within yourself.’


Late Middle English: from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch bricke, brike; probably reinforced by Old French brique; of unknown ultimate origin.