There are 2 main definitions of brick in English:

Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: brick
Pronunciation: /brik


1A small rectangular block typically made of fired or sun-dried clay, used in building.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Cracked mortar between bricks should also be repointed by carefully removing and replacing any unsound mortar.
1.1Bricks collectively as a building material: this mill was built of brick [as modifier]: a large brick building
More example sentences
  • Woodlawn is brick, a building material rarely used in early nineteenth-century Maine where lumber was so plentiful.
  • Wall materials such as stucco, cement, brick, plaster, stone, and block are most resistant to high temperatures.
  • The primary building material was large adobe brick, and huge pyramids towered above the city.
1.2A small, rectangular object: a brick of ice cream
More example sentences
  • Get a brick of white, scent-free glycerin soap from the craft store.
  • Think of a beautiful counter with nothing to chop on it, except a brick of ice.
  • She remembered selling him a brick of hash out of the broken down toilet stall.
2 informal A large and relatively heavy cellular phone, typically an early model with limited functionality: I had one of those Motorola bricks as my first cell phone
More example sentences
  • I've had a mobile phone for ten years. Not the same phone, obviously. My first one was a brick.
  • You were lucky to have a flip phone, I had one of those Motorola bricks as my first cell phone.
  • I remember my Dad bringing home a big brick cell phone in the 80s.
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
More example sentences
  • The update downloaded and said to restart my phone. I did and now it's a brick.
  • My phone is a brick and I really just don't understand what I can't do to fix it.
  • If you can't recover your ID or re-set your password, it's a brick.
3British informal dated A generous, helpful, and reliable person.
Example sentences
  • She really is a brick.
  • 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.


[with object] Back to top  
1Block or enclose with a wall of bricks: the doors have been bricked up
More example sentences
  • The walls were bricked but filled with sports pictures and the booths were all different colors.
  • Those windows were bricked in because to do so was far cheaper than making the needed structural repairs.
  • Some of the doors were bolted shut, some were bricked up.
2 informal 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
More example sentences
  • Note that any interruption at this point - reboot, disconnection from PC or power off - will permanently brick the device.
  • Many computers include recovery features in their BIOS that allow them to recover from an interrupted BIOS flash that would normally brick the device.
  • 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.


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


be built like a brick shithouse


bricks and mortar

Buildings: David knows how inefficient it is to tie up your capital in bricks and mortar
More example sentences
  • There would be no need to pay for the bricks and mortar and the other services provided by traditional colleges.
  • Direct sales - which includes the bricks and mortar retail stores - was up 45 per cent for the quarter.
  • That means we will enjoy three times the profitability of traditional bricks and mortar grocers.
[as modifier]2.1 Used to denote a business that operates conventionally rather than (or as well as) over the Internet: the bricks-and-mortar banks Compare with clicks and mortar.
More example sentences
  • 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.

a brick short of a load

see short.

hit (or run into) a brick wall

Face an insuperable problem or obstacle while trying to do something.
Example sentences
  • I have talked to many people, but I keep hitting a brick wall.
  • Sadly, this approach seemingly hit a brick wall too.
  • Will efforts to end the election crisis hit a brick wall?

like a ton of bricks

informal With crushing weight, force, or authority: all her years of marriage suddenly fell on her like a ton of bricks
More example sentences
  • I desperately tried to remember what had happened last night and suddenly, it fell upon 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.
  • Realization hit her like a ton of bricks and she staggered under the weight of it.

shit a brick (or bricks)

vulgar slang Be extremely anxious or nervous.

you can't make bricks without straw

proverb Nothing can be made or accomplished without proper or adequate material or information.
[with biblical allusion to Exodus 5; “without straw” meant “without having straw provided” (i.e., the Israelites were required to gather the straw for themselves). A misinterpretation has led to the current sense]
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • You can't make bricks without straw and you can't portray a character just by making him up from within yourself.

Definition of brick in:

Share this entry

Share this page


There are 2 main definitions of brick in English:

Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: Brick
Pronunciation: /brik
A township in southeastern New Jersey; population 78,419 (est. 2008).

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?