Posted by Bob on July 24, 2003
In Reply to: " Thick as a brick " posted by James Briggs on July 24, 2003
: : : ok, so I'm a huge Jethro Tull fan, and I assume the meaning is to be stupid, a simpelton. I would just like to know the origin of the phrase. How thick were the bricks? Why bricks? Thanks
: : Not sure of the origin, but he says "thick as a brick" because it rhymes more than anything else!
: In Britain it's often as 'thick as two planks'. I've never heard the 'brick' version, but I guess any object could be used. In WW1 there was a charitable organisation called 'Toc H' who helped the troops near the front line - cups of tea, comfort, etc. They usually could be indentified by a dim light outside their tent/hut. This caused the development of a then current phrase to describe someone as 'dim as a Toc H lamp'.
There's "dumb as a box of rocks" and "dumb as a bag of hammers," too. I suppose the common thread is the heavy unchangingness of these humble objects, in contrast to the nimbleness of a lively mind, which would call up lighter, quicker objects as metaphors. "You rocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things" as Shakespeare would have it.