Green’s Dictionary of Slang

brick n.

[the solidity of the object]

1. the lit. or fig. solidity/density of the object.

(a) [early 19C+] a reliable, kind, selfless person.

(b) [mid-19C] (Aus.) in ironic use of sense 1a, a gang member, a wayward young man; thus brickism, the philosophy of joining and acting in a gang.

(c) [late 19C] (US campus) courage, spirit, ‘pluck’.

(d) [late 19C] as my brick, a term of friendly address.

(e) [1900s] (Aus.) a thug, a tough.

(f) [1910s] an attractive person.

(g) [1910s–20s] a fool.

(h) [1960s+] (US campus) a mess, a failure.

(i) see brickhouse n.2 (1)

2. the shape of the object.

(a) [mid–late 19C] (US, also bricking) a punishment, performed by bringing someone’s knees close up to the chin and tying the arms tightly to the knees.

(b) [1950s] (US prison) a carton of cigarettes.

(c) [1960s+] (drugs) a block of opium, morphine or marijuana; usu. 1kg (2.2lb).

(d) [1970s+] 1kg (2.2lb) of heroin; but note volume in cite 2010: 700 gms/1.5 lb.

(e) [1970s+] (US drugs) 1kg (2.2lb) of cocaine or crack cocaine.

(f) [1990s+] a large piece of excrement.

(g) [2000s] one gram of heroin.

(h) a box of ammunition.

3. the trad. colour – red – of a brick.

(a) [late 19C+] (Aus.) a £10 or $10 note (which is red).

(b) [1950s+] by ext. of sense 3a, a ten-year prison sentence.

(c) [1980s+] (Aus. prison) by ext. of sense 3a, a 10lb weight.

In derivatives

brickish (adj.)

[mid-19C] a general term of approbation; thus brickishness n., the quality of being good-hearted.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

brickfielder (n.) [orig. a thick cloud of dust brought over Sydney, New South Wales, by a south wind from neighbouring sandhills (called the ‘brickfields’)] [mid-19C+] (Aus.)

1. in Sydney, a sudden squally wind, bringing relief at the end of a hot day although sometimes accompanied by a dust-storm.

2. a hot, dusty wind that blows over parts of northern Australia.

brick gum (n.) [gum n.3 ] (drugs)

1. [1930s–50s] a block of unprocessed opium.

2. [1980s+] heroin.

brickhead (n.)

[1970s] a stupid person.

brickhouse (n.)

see separate entries.

bricklayer (n.) [? SE rubrick layer; but F&H note, first, the medieval church official the operarius, the workman ‘on whom devolved the charge of repairing and maintaining the sacred fabric’ of a church or cathedral; and, second, the line in Ephesians that compares such early Christians as St Paul to ‘master-builders’ whose greatest ‘building’ is the Church]

[late 19C] a clergyman.

bricktop (n.) (also brick roof) [the redness of ‘typical’ bricks]

[mid-19C+] (US) a redhead; also as adj.; thus brick-topped, redheaded.

In phrases

have a brick in one’s hat (v.) (also wear a brick in one’s hat) [one is top-heavy (see top-heavy under top n.)]

[mid–late 19C] (orig. US) to be extremely drunk.

like a ton of brick(s) (adv.) (also like a thousand of brick(s), like half a ton of bricks)

[mid-19C+] with the full force of one’s anger or aggression; often as come down on someone like...