Definition of wall in English:

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Pronunciation: /wɔːl/


1A continuous vertical brick or stone structure that encloses or divides an area of land: a garden wall
More example sentences
  • The Washburn Valley is true Dales country, with stoutly-built stone barns and sinuous walls dividing up the fields of deep velvety green.
  • The slow seep through the garden wall made the whole area under the grapes a muddy swamp.
  • By the time I got to the drystone wall that divides the plot from the public footpath and the beck, the sobs had changed to screams of rage.
barrier, partition, room divider, enclosure, screen, panel, separator;
dam, dyke
fortification, rampart, barricade, parapet, bulwark, stockade, bailey, breastwork
1.1An upright side of a building or room: opulent rooms with tapestries on the walls
More example sentences
  • Ayako didn't answer him back, but began to observe the surrounding buildings through the glass walls of the room.
  • The room widens almost imperceptibly, then narrows again as the adobe walls converge on either side of the altar.
  • Mirrors were on the right side of the wall, making the room appear much larger than it really was.
1.2Any high vertical surface, especially one that is imposing in scale: the eastern wall of the valley figurative flash floods sent a six-foot wall of water through the village
More example sentences
  • At the strategic location of Pointe du Hoc, American Rangers scaled the cliff walls on D-Day.
  • Up close, the walls were like the surface of the moon, made vertical.
  • Describing the feeling of what it is like to scale a craggy wall with ease, Kirsty likened the experience to a Zen state.
1.3 (the Wall) short for Berlin Wall. he was on location in Germany while the Wall was tumbling down
2A thing regarded as a protective or restrictive barrier: police investigating the murders met a wall of silence from witnesses
More example sentences
  • Detectives met a wall of silence despite being convinced that several local people knew who was responsible.
  • Bullet-proof glass and protective walls will hopefully put paid to any terrorist attacks.
  • He carried on his celestial observations alone from a tower situated on the protective wall of the cathedral.
obstacle, barrier, barricade, fence;
impediment, hindrance, block, check
2.1 Soccer A line of defenders forming a barrier against a free kick taken near the penalty area: he curled a free kick around the wall for a late equalizer
More example sentences
  • It was a clear foul - like when players ease a defender out the way in the wall at a free-kick.
  • Nastja Ceh put Slovenia ahead in the 16th minute after curling a free-kick over a wall of defenders.
  • Shevchenko steps up and promptly blasts the free-kick into the wall.
3 Anatomy & Zoology The membranous outer layer or lining of an organ or cavity: the wall of the stomach
More example sentences
  • The outer layer of the wall of the large intestine is weaker in some areas than in others.
  • The outer wall of the braincase becomes the alisphenoid and the dermal skull bones.
  • There were several points of adhesion from the lung to the chest wall and to the mediastinal pleura.
4 Mining The rock enclosing a lode or seam.
5 another term for wall brown.


[with object]
1Enclose (an area) within walls, especially for protection or privacy: parts of the city’s East End had been walled off with concrete barricades (as adjective walled) a walled garden
More example sentences
  • They put these viewing platforms all over the place so that people can see into whatever area has been walled off.
  • I thought the garden was walled all round, but there is a breach in the wall at the back which a healthy animal could have hurdled.
  • Outside the garden is walled to the front with a cobble lock drive and pathway to the front door.
enclose, bound, encircle, confine, hem, circumscribe, close, shut, fence;
separate, partition
1.1 (wall something up) Block or seal a place by building a wall around or across it: one doorway has been walled up
More example sentences
  • I was once told that the mill was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, and windows were walled up for the window tax of 1696.
  • My room was far away from everybody else's, on the corner of an enclosed porch - it had once been open, but they walled it up.
  • At the end of that time the slaves of one Adolius, to whom the inheritance of the mountain had descended, removed the stones with which the cavern had been walled up, and the seven sleepers were permitted to awake.
block, seal, close, brick up
1.2 (wall someone/thing in/up) Confine or imprison someone or something in a restricted or sealed place: the grey tenements walled in the space completely
More example sentences
  • They didn't touch me, but formed a solid formation that would be impossible to break, walling me in with the rail of the bridge at my back.
  • This plus the fact the sheep pen is walled in on four sides by a solid board fence three and a half feet high on two sides and 15 feet on the other.
  • When you should have been dreaming of accession, and lopping off the heads of people you took a dislike to, mad uncle Richard was walling you up in the tower.



between you and me and the wall


drive someone up the wall

informal Make someone very irritated or angry: it’s driving me up the wall trying to find out who did what
More example sentences
  • And each one was rude or stubborn or had some irritating habit that drove him up the wall.
  • The noise is a low frequency vibration which can drive you up the wall when the wind sets it into homes and farms.
  • It's the relentless, mind-numbing repeat tasks that drive me up the wall, and sometimes I can't even be bothered to crawl back down again.
enrage, incense, anger, infuriate, madden, inflame, antagonize, make someone's blood boil, make someone's hackles rise, rub up the wrong way, ruffle someone's feathers, ruffle, peeve;
annoy, irritate, exasperate, irk, vex, put out, provoke, pique, gall, displease
informal drive mad/crazy, make someone see red, get someone's back up, get someone's dander up, get someone's goat, get under someone's skin, get up someone's nose, rattle someone's cage
aggravate, get someone, needle, bug, nettle, rile, miff, hack off
British informal wind up, get at, nark, get across, get on someone's wick
North American informal tee off, tick off, burn up, gravel
vulgar slang piss off
informal, dated give someone the pip
rare empurple

go to the wall

1(Of a business) go out of business; fail: thousands of firms are expected to go to the wall this year
More example sentences
  • They have excluded every car from the city centre, as a result any remaining small businesses have gone to the wall.
  • The result of her incompetence has been that young drivers are being crucified and that business are going to the wall with thousands of jobs lost.
  • So the longer that access to our expensive salmon rivers and classic Highland lochs remains closed then the more fishing hotels, tackle shops and other small rural businesses will go to the wall.
fail, collapse, go bankrupt, become insolvent, go into receivership, go into liquidation, crash, fold (up), go under, founder, be ruined, cave in
informal go broke, go bust, go bump, go belly up, come a cropper, flop
2Support someone or something, no matter what the cost to oneself: the tendency for poets to go to the wall for their beliefs
More example sentences
  • Notwithstanding their bravado, my guess is that the Democrats fear they will be the political losers if they go to the wall for the principle that a minority should be able to block a judicial nominee from receiving a vote.
  • No politician will ever claim to have won a seat by announcing that he would fight, to save the Scottish Chamber Orchestra or go to the wall for the National Gallery of Modern Art.
  • It's a farmers' problem and while everyone should feel sorry for them, and give them a help out, we can't all go to the wall for them.

go up the wall

Become very angry in reaction to something: this causes the dog to go up the wall and bark his head off
More example sentences
  • People are going to go up the wall.
  • Surrounded by nice quiet things and an utter absence of familiarity, I went up the wall.
  • We keep all of the tiny wage they pay me, but its enough to stop us going up the wall.

hit the wall

(Of an athlete) experience a sudden loss of energy in a long race: marathon runners found they often hit the wall after 17 or 18 miles
More example sentences
  • The first couple of games I felt pretty good, but by the third game I pretty much hit the wall.
  • Moehler seems to be hitting the wall around the 100-pitch mark, a trend that's worrisome in light of shoulder soreness he has experienced.
  • Italy have a rare moment of pressure - but Panucci hits the wall for about the third time today.

off the wall

Pronunciation: /ˌɒf ðə ˈwɔːl/
North American informal
1Eccentric or unconventional: a zany, wacky, off-the-wall weirdo
More example sentences
  • It was something a little more off the wall, a bit of self-reference or a weird thought.
  • They are off the wall, unsettling, and very strange.
  • Christopher Walken does eccentricity well, but just being off the wall isn't necessarily funny.
eccentric, zany, far out, freakish, quirky, idiosyncratic, unconventional, unorthodox, weird, outlandish, offbeat, off-centre, bizarre, strange, unfamiliar;
French outré
informal way-out, wacky, freaky, kooky, screwy, kinky, oddball, cranky
North American informal in left field
2Angry: the president was off the wall about the article
More example sentences
  • ‘It was driving me off the wall, blocking e-mails and not letting me get to ordinary websites,’ he says.

walls have ears

proverb Be careful what you say as people may be eavesdropping.
Example sentences
  • There's nothing wrong with that per se but you have to be careful what you say because the walls have ears.
  • ‘The walls have ears here,’ he says, soon after we enter the coffee shop, ushering me away from the disinterested-looking patrons in search of more private surroundings.
  • In America, the damn walls have ears and the sky has eyes.


Pronunciation: /ˌwɔːltəˈwɔːl/
(Of a carpet) fitted to cover an entire floor: he padded across the wall-to-wall carpeting
More example sentences
  • Thick, beige, wall-to-wall carpeting covered the floor, and the vast bed had a frame of some sleek, dark wood.
  • Kawara transformed the space, laying gray wall-to-wall carpet on the floors.
  • Like wall-to-wall carpets they resembled, lush green lawns eventually covered just about everything in residential neighborhoods.
informal8.1 Very numerous or extensive: wall-to-wall media coverage
More example sentences
  • What is demonstrates, along with the wall-to-wall media coverage, is that soccer, alone among field sports, is a global game.
  • The wall-to-wall media coverage was matched only by the grubby machinations of numerous entrepreneurs offering their ‘services’.
  • There is no doubt that we have had wall-to-wall saturation media coverage of this war.



Example sentences
  • When you were fielding in the wall-less labyrinth of cricketers and pitches, you often forgot which wicket your match was being played on.
  • People are cooking, bathing, chatting in their wall-less homes.
  • One double-walled track heads off north-west while another, wall-less, gently climbs a little east of north.


Old English, from Latin vallum 'rampart', from vallus 'stake'.

  • Wall comes from Latin vallum ‘rampart’, from vallus ‘stake’, which implies that the earliest walls were defensive ones around a town or camp. To go to the wall is now to fail commercially but originally meant ‘give way’ or ‘be beaten in a battle or fight’. The idea may be that of a hard-pressed fighter retreating until he had a wall behind him and he could retreat no more—until he had his back against the wall. There may also be a link to the proverb the weakest go to the wall, which dates back to the end of the 15th century, and is usually said to derive from the installation of seating round the walls in churches of the late Middle Ages. Someone who is off the wall is unconventional or crazy. This is a quite recent phrase, first recorded in the mid 1960s, in the USA. One suggestion is that it refers to the way that a ball sometimes bounces off a wall at an unexpected angle. The proverb walls have ears dates back to the early 17th century. A more rural version is fields have eyes, and woods have ears, which is first recorded some 400 years earlier. Saying that the writing is on the wall is a biblical allusion to the description of Belshazzar's feast in the Book of Daniel. In this account Belshazzar was the king of Babylon whose death was foretold by a mysterious hand which wrote on the palace wall at a banquet.

Words that rhyme with wall

all, appal (US appall), awl, Bacall, ball, bawl, befall, Bengal, brawl, call, caul, crawl, Donegal, drawl, drywall, enthral (US enthrall), fall, forestall, gall, Galle, Gaul, hall, haul, maul, miaul, miscall, Montreal, Naipaul, Nepal, orle, pall, Paul, pawl, Saul, schorl, scrawl, seawall, Senegal, shawl, small, sprawl, squall, stall, stonewall, tall, thrall, trawl, waul, wherewithal, withal, yawl

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