Thick as a brick

Posted by Gary Martin on March 19, 2000

In Reply to: Thick as a brick posted by ESC on March 18, 2000

: : I am trying to find the meaning and origin of the phrase Thick as a Brick. I believe its a Central European phrase. I already know it was used by Jethro Tull in a song of the same title but I do not believe it the phrase has its origins there. I believe the song is a pro-life statement but would like to understand the meaning of the title.

: I thought it was a British phrase meaning stupid. But the No. 2 meaning here is something different: "thick -- adjective 1. stupid. a. 1800...'He must be as thick as two planks,' said Nick. 2. Brit. Unreasonable and intolerable; esp. in phr. 'a bit thick'..." From The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang by John Ayto & John Simpson (Oxford University Press, 1992).

: We'll have to appeal to the British among us to sort this out.

This is thick in the stupid sense. The bricks are housebricks which in the UK are usually around 9"x4"x3", i.e. short and thick - like short planks.