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Re: Workbrickle

Posted by R. Berg on July 03, 2003

In Reply to: Workbrickle posted by Stacy on July 03, 2003

: Wondering if anyone has any ideas on the etymology of 'workbrickle.' My experience with the term is limited to use among my older relatives, but I can best characterize 'workbrickle' as an adjective used to describe a hard-working person. It's connotations are similar to those of 'workaholic', though I think someone who is workbrickle tends to be more inclined towards physical labor than, say, paper-pushing (i.e. a lawyer might be a workaholic if he works late hours every night, but he's not necessarily workbrickle).

The Oxford English Dictionary has it as "work-brittle."

"Work-brittle, [adj., dialectal]. Also -brattle, -brackle, etc. (see 'Eng. Dial. Dict. s.v. 'Work-bracco'). [from WORK sb. or v.; the second element appears to be BRITTLE [adj.], but the sense-development is obscure.] Eager to work, industrious."

The OED's earliest quotation illustrating its use is dated 1647.