red·​brick ˈred-ˌbrik How to pronounce redbrick (audio)
: built of red brick
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

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 The 1,531-square-foot two-bedroom penthouse duplex is one of six units at 50-52 Rutland Square, an 1860 redbrick town house. Marni Elyse Katz,, 30 Nov. 2022 The School of Divinity’s narrow tower looms over the campus, a phallic, redbrick building that resembles an oversize lighthouse, and holds a replica of the Liberty Bell at the top. Brice Particelli, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 Yet just across the slow-running River Tyne, the redbrick houses of Europe’s last great yeshiva town are visible in the smaller neighboring city of Gateshead. Jacob Judah,, 17 Mar. 2021 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, 6 Nov. 2018 The road is lined with endless rows of ramshackle redbrick buildings. The Economist, 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,, 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,, 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, 16 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'redbrick.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of redbrick was in 1769


Dictionary Entries Near redbrick

Cite this Entry

“Redbrick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

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