goldbrick (plural goldbricks)

  1. Something fraudulent or nonexistent offered for sale; a swindle or con.
    • 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Smart Set, January 1920, collected in Tales of the Jazz Age:
      Experience is the biggest gold brick in the world. All older people have it for sale.
    • 1932, Rafael De Nogales, Memoirs Of A Soldier Of Fortune, Kessinger Publishing (2006), ISBN 9781428658349, page 98 ↗:
      These, as a rule, were not adverse to buying a goldbrick as long as they knew that there was a chance for them to dump it on somebody else afterwards with some profit.
    • 1932, in Harper’s Magazine, Volume 166,[ ] page 520:
      To-day, American attitude toward Europe is comparable to that of the country greenhorn who, having bought a goldbrick on Broadway, now fills the air not merely with the denunciation of the sharpers who tricked his credulity — […]
    • 1945, in the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration Bulletin, Volumes 422–433,[ ] page 5:
      The average farmer may be less of a victim than some other people by reason of his isolation, conservatism, and hard earned money, but he, too, has too often bought a goldbrick that did not materialize.
    • circa 1967 Edmund Wilson, quoted in Lewis M. Dabney, Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature,[ ][ ] Macmillan (2005), ISBN 9780374113124, page 485:
      […] that if he bought a goldbrick from Podhoretz for $25,000, he ought to pay me more than the $5,000 a volume that had been agreed on for the pure gold […]
  2. (US slang, dated) A shirker or malingerer.
    • 1945, Dr. Charley Haly, quoted in Doc: heroic stories of medics, corpsmen, and surgeons in combat by Mark R. Littleton, p. 68 ↗
      Mac, there’s not a confounded thing wrong with you. You are an excellent physical specimen and in good health. You’re nothing but a goldbrick. Now, get your butt out of here and don’t ever come back again unless you’re really sick or need an immunization.
    • 2004 (written circa2 1990), Howard Ashman, Aladdin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, “Proud of your Boy”:
      Tell me that I’ve been a louse and loafer
      You won’t get a fight here, no ma’am
      Say I’m a goldbrick, a good-off, no good
      But that couldn’t be all that I am
  3. (US slang, dated) A swindler.

goldbrick (goldbricks, present participle goldbricking; past and past participle goldbricked)

  1. (US slang, dated) To shirk or malinger.
  2. (US slang, dated) To swindle.

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