Where Does the Word “Goldbrick” Come From and What Does Goldbrick Mean?

Of course the original gold brick was of the pure metal which, for convenience in handling, had been melted and molded into brick form.

But skullduggery reared its ugly head among Western promoters of mining properties, and, especially after 1880, many of these gentlemen began to create bricks of identical form of lead, coated with gold.

Gullible Easterners with money to invest were taken in by scores in mines from which these “gold bricks” were alleged to have been produced, until eventually the term became synonymous with a swindle, with faking.

Later, first as military slang, to goldbrick became “to fake industrious toil, to shirk”; and goldbricker, “a shirker.”

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