noun, often attributive
\ ˈbrik How to pronounce brick (audio) \

Definition of brick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 plural bricks or brick : a handy-sized unit of building or paving material typically being rectangular and about 2¹/₄ × 3³/₄ × 8 inches (57 × 95 × 203 millimeters) and made of moist clay hardened by heat
2 : a good-hearted person
3 : a rectangular compressed mass (as of ice cream)
4 : a semisoft cheese with numerous small holes, smooth texture, and often mild flavor
5 : gaffe, blunder used especially in the phrase drop a brick
6 : a badly missed shot in basketball he threw up a brick


bricked; bricking; bricks

Definition of brick (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to close, face, or pave with bricks usually used with up, in, or over brick up a doorwaybrick over an opening
2 : to render (an electronic device, such as a smartphone) nonfunctional (as by accidental damage, malicious hacking, or software changes) … those who dared hack the phone to add features … risked having it "bricked"—completely and permanently disabled—on the next automatic update …— Jonathan Zittrain
3 basketball, informal : to miss (a shot) very badly : to throw up a brick on (a shot) (see brick entry 1 sense 6) brick a free throw

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Examples of brick in a Sentence

Noun a house made of brick a brick of ice cream children playing with wooden bricks He has been an absolute brick.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The event was in the basement of what was then four stories of unreinforced brick, meaning there was no steel supporting the structure, completed in 1914. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, "How this ‘earthquake nut’ prompted one Utah school district to make all of its buildings safer," 28 Mar. 2021 On June 1, 1918, the Stradford Hotel opened at 301 Greenwood Avenue—three stories of brown brick, 54 guest rooms, plus offices and a drugstore, pool hall, barbershop, banquet hall and restaurant. Smithsonian Magazine, "The Burning: The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921," 17 Mar. 2021 There was no sign of activity at the Kushner family’s residence, with its gray exterior shutters and white walls of brick. Washington Post, "The $3,000-a-month toilet for the Ivanka Trump/Jared Kushner Secret Service detail," 14 Jan. 2021 Bryant, 42, found part of a brick from the church embedded in its gravel driveway and dug it out. Solomon Crenshaw Jr., al, "Thanksgiving 2020: Despite COVID and economic crisis, Alabamians remain grateful," 26 Nov. 2020 In true Latrobian style, the new customhouse was made of red brick and was adorned with white columns and green shutters. Mike Scott,, "Thomas Jefferson's grand plan for a Gulf Coast lighthouse survived after an initial dark period," 17 Nov. 2020 Chamoy City Limits started as a food truck in 2012 and opened last year as a brick-and-mortar shop on Hildebrand. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "Instagram a crucial tool for San Antonio chefs, restaurants, affecting menu choices, plating and even chefs' hygiene," 24 Mar. 2021 The more pressing question is if our consumption habits as a whole—online, brick-and-mortar, new, secondhand—will change after this is all over. Emily Farra, Vogue, "How a Year in Lockdown Inspired Me to Double Down on My Sustainability Commitments," 19 Mar. 2021 People still tend to shop for cars at brick-and-mortar retailers, not online. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, "Fed Waves Green Flag, But Yields Flashing Red: Market Under Pressure On Rate Fears," 18 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After slapping an inbounds pass in front of the Toronto bench and watching Chris Boucher brick a last-second jumper, Sexton exchanged words with VanVleet. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers, Collin Sexton take big step in responding to Raptors’ challenge, show they won’t back down to anyone," 22 Mar. 2021 Instances abound these days of older, more affordable and often brick homes or duplexes that define many neighborhoods being demolished for apartment projects, with new dwellings rented at often-pricey market rates. The Salt Lake Tribune, "‘Gentrification has arrived in Salt Lake City,’ and it’s wreaking havoc," 14 Mar. 2021 Denuvo parent company Irdeto compares its DRM to brick-and-mortar stores’ anti-theft technology. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "The Woman Bulldozing Video Games’ Toughest DRM," 22 Feb. 2021 Although William III of England did enact a Window Tax that inspired some taxpayers to brick up their windows, the Phrase Finder states the tax is unrelated to the term because the phrase isn’t documented until 1916. Devon Link, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Origin stories for popular phrases are nothing more than urban legends," 17 Oct. 2020 Allow the primer to dry overnight, then use a new thick-nap roller to apply two coats of masonry topcoat paint, which is specifically formulated to adhere to brick and other masonry surfaces. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Successfully Paint Any Wall in Your House," 18 Dec. 2020 In November, Montgomery’s board gave its approval to a preliminary plan to return children to brick-and-mortar schools, at least part time. Washington Post, "As covid cases surge, Montgomery County delays return of students," 27 Nov. 2020 Under the revised order, the state will continue to fund school districts’ online learning programs for parents who opt not to send their children to brick-and-mortar classrooms next semester. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "Florida schools to stay open, state will fully fund online learning programs," 1 Dec. 2020 In order to avoid the tax, house owners would brick up all windows except six... Devon Link, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Origin stories for popular phrases are nothing more than urban legends," 17 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brick.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brick


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brick


Middle English bryke, from Middle Dutch bricke

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Learn More about brick

Time Traveler for brick

Time Traveler

The first known use of brick was in the 15th century

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Statistics for brick

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for brick



English Language Learners Definition of brick

: a small, hard block of baked clay that is used to build structures (such as houses) and sometimes to make streets, paths, etc.
: blocks of baked clay used as building material
: a block of something


\ ˈbrik How to pronounce brick (audio) \

Kids Definition of brick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a building or paving material made from clay molded into blocks and baked
2 : a block made of brick


bricked; bricking

Kids Definition of brick (Entry 2 of 2)

: to close, face, or pave with bricks

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