red·​brick | \ ˈred-ˌbrik How to pronounce redbrick (audio) \

Definition of redbrick

1 : built of red brick
2 often capitalized [from the common use of red brick in constructing the buildings of recently founded universities] : of, relating to, or being the British universities founded in the 19th or early 20th century — compare oxbridge, plateglass

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Did You Know?

Although red brick is a perfectly innocent building material in America, the British usage of redbrick is often potentially uncomplimentary. Redbrick is a British coinage created to denote the universities which were newer and perhaps less prestigious than Oxford and Cambridge (and sometimes the ancient universities of Scotland). These newer universities tended to be constructed of red brick, rather than the stone used for Oxford and Cambridge, and were most often created in industrial cities such as Liverpool. Sometimes the term is also used to distinguish these universities from those built after World War II. Limited evidence suggests that redbrick may be developing an extended meaning of "lower-class" or "working class," but this is not yet established enough to merit a dictionary entry.

Examples of redbrick in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web All in all, there are 400 businesses on the 300-acre property, which fuses contemporary buildings and historic redbrick factories—the perfect place for Vogue and the CFDA’s annual soirée. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "How an Industrial Space in Brooklyn Was Transformed for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards Dinner," 6 Nov. 2018 The road is lined with endless rows of ramshackle redbrick buildings. The Economist, "Why Arab states have lots of expensive villas," 14 June 2018 As if to advertise Moscow’s contradictions, the far end of Nikolskaya looks out at the imposing yellow and redbrick Lubyanka building, once home to the KGB and now housing its successor, the FSB organization. Trudy Rubin,, "Report from Moscow: After missile strike, will Trump or Putin be seen as the winner? | Trudy Rubin," 18 Apr. 2018 The report barely acknowledges that Philadelphia’s traditional redbrick fabric and fine institutional buildings are experiencing an unprecedented wave of destruction, induced by a decadelong building boom. Inga Saffron,, "Philadelphia's preservation reform effort has lost its way | Inga Saffron," 29 Mar. 2018 The 9-acre McKeldin Mall stretches from the Main Administration Building to McKeldin Library, with its stalwart redbrick exterior, distinctive front stairway, and crisp white-columned facade. Jennifer Chappell Smith, Southern Living, "The South’s Most Beautiful Colleges," 16 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'redbrick.' 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 redbrick

1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of redbrick was in 1769

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Cite this Entry

“Redbrick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of redbrick

: made of red bricks
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