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Re: Brick s'house

Posted by R. Berg on April 09, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Brick s'house posted by NeilB on April 09, 2001

: : : : : : I'm looking for the origin of the phrase "She is built like a brick shithouse".I hope this is not offensive. I know what it means, but do not know the origin or beginnings. Thanks for any help.

: : : : : I'll post again if I find anything in my references. From my own knowledge, I can tell you that outhouses (privies) are usually humble affairs made of wood. A brick outhouse would be a fine structure indeed. Though not very practical since outhouses had to be moved from time to time to a fresh spot.

: : : : : So the phrase "built like a brick outhouse" carried over to refer to a woman who has a fine structure.

: : : : : It's a rural U.S. expression since few city folk have outdoor toilets. There was a song by a black group:

: : : : Brick House (lyrics)
: : : : By the Commodores

: : : : Chorus:
: : : : She's a brick----house
: : : : Mighty mighty, just lettin' it all hang out
: : : : She's a brick----house
: : : : The lady's stacked and that's a fact,
: : : : ain't holding nothing back.

: : : : She's a brick----house
: : : : She's the one, the only one,
: : : : who's built like a amazon
: : : : We're together everybody knows,
: : : : and here's how the story goes.

: : : : Verse:
: : : : 1. She knows she got everything
: : : : a woman needs to get a man, yeah.
: : : : How can she use, the things she use
: : : : 36-24-36, what a winning hand!
: : : To ESC, thanks for the response. Enjoyed the extra material.

: : In the first edition of "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," Eric Partridge called this a 20th-century low Canadian phrase, "applied to a very well-made fellow." Later he added more, including these extracts: "It has a much wider application and distribution than I had supposed . . .In Brit., as elsewhere, it is usu. used of a female: author Brian Aldiss remarks that [it] is 'a term of decided admiration for what is at once solid and female'; he thinks that the catchphrase 'must date from at least early C20, when such buildings had scarcity value'. It migrated to Aus., where it was extant in 1978 . . . Fain, 1978, notes that 'built . . .' 'became prevalent in the US at a time when most outdoor shithouses were made of wood, and a brick shithouse was really something to write home about'; he dates it from c. 1900 or a decade earlier. . . ."

: : A mere speculation of mine: Besides its connotations of solidity and luxury (by comparison with the usual rickety wooden alternative), maybe the phrase owes some of its aptness to the fact that bricks in a building, like the women the phrase describes, are stacked, whereas lumber in a building is not.

: This is indeed interesting. If I understand correctly being 'built like a etc' for a female in the US means she is attractive. Here in the UK the phrase is normally applied to a man and means that he is extreamly muscular. How things change across 'the pond.'

To clarify what I think it means here: In my experience listening to U.S. speech, the current phrase isn't "built like . . ." but "stacked like . . . ," and it applies to women who are bosomy, whatever their general degree of attractiveness. It wouldn't be said of a man. A simple "She's stacked" means the same thing. But the reference books on slang don't bear me out. Perhaps usage differs in other regions of the country.