Slang City Mail

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March 24, 2005

Slang of the Week: built like a brick house/built like a brick shithouse (phrase)
1. Solidly built 2. Shapely (when said of a woman)

Back in high school, Meg was built like a brick house. Now 50, she is just built like a house.

Celebrity quote:
“The good points: The cinematography is okay, there are a couple of laughs, and McConaughey is built like a brick shithouse. The bad points: EVERYTHING ELSE.”
-Wm. Steven Humphrey, reviewing the 2002 movie Reign of Fire in the Portland Mercury

Most Americans associate this phrase with the 1977 Commodores classic:

She's a brick…house
She’s mighty, mighty, just lettin' it all hang out
She's a brick…house
The lady's stacked and that's a fact
Ain't holding nothing back

Stacked means large-breasted and brick house is used primarily about sexy women in the US. However, you can find examples of this expression used to describe large, muscular men, reliable computer software, and even cars. One recent online advertisement for a horse read, “This filly has a solid performance pedigree, she is cowy and quick, great disposition and built like a brick house!”

Although both forms are common, the second (and less polite) is the original. Shithouses (more commonly called outhouses) are old-fashioned outdoor toilets. In the States, they were normally made of wood, so a brick one would obviously be more “mighty, mighty.” But why comparing a woman to a bathroom is a compliment remains a mystery.