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brick wall (plural brick walls)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see brick,‎ wall. A wall made of bricks.
  2. (figuratively) An obstacle.
    The investigators came up against a brick wall in their search for the missing money when they discovered it had been transferred overseas.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Wind Tunnels of NASA
      They all ran up against the brick wall of high cost until the cryogenic option was proven feasible in 1973.
  3. (figuratively) Someone who is silent or unresponsive.
    • National Thespian Dramatic Honor Society for High Schools (1987) Dramatics, volume 59, page 23: “When mama says she doesn't talk, she means it. She's a brick wall.”
    • Judith Caseley (1992) My Father, The Nutcase, page 34: “"Does he talk much? I mean, does he initiate conversation?"
      "No. He's a brick wall," I said.”
    • Edward R.F. Sheeran (1997) Cardinal Galsworthy, page 182: “Having uttered these benign assurances, Mr Burner III became a brick wall.”

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