Posted by ESC on July 20, 2000
In Reply to: You're a brick! posted by Maggi on July 20, 2000
: Can anyone settle the dispute between myself and my multi-national bunch of colleagues who insist I am having them on by insisting this expression isn't the insult they all seem to think it is.
: I used it in the sense that the person was solid, dependable, reliable, good-natured, etc.
: Can anyone explain how this came into use. Is it a house-brick, a brick of ice-cream perhaps???? Please help defend me against the rest of the world.
"brick of a man -- A good, solid, substantial person that you can rely upon. The expression is said to have originated with King Lycurgus of Sparta, who was questioned about the absence of defensive walls around his city. 'There are Sparta's walls,' he replied, pointing at his soldiers, 'and every man is a brick.'" From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).