Bricked


Bricked” may be my new favorite word. As UrbanDictionary puts it, with characteristic verve:

To render your computer or other hardware useless, as useless as a brick. Or as a brick would be if you need a computer.

In part, it’s because the last few years have seen a veritable renaissance of bricked electronics, the WiiConnect Update of Doom, and now Apple’s Self-Spiting Revenge on iPhone unlocks.

In part, it’s because “bricked” carries echoes of “b0rked” an earlier and colorful term to much the same effect. But whereas “b0rked” brought to mind the failed Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork, “bricked” gets a lot closer to the truth: you now own a very expensive brick.

But really, I love “bricked” because it’s a great example of verbing done right. “To brick” means “to turn into a brick”—the construction is both clearly right and also not a common pattern among nouns-turned-into-verbs. More often, “to X” means “to use an X”: direct, but also bland.

So here’s to “bricked,” and to all of my brothers and sisters who are suffering the agony of a bricked iPhone.


The only similar verbing that comes to mind is “to disappear” in the transitive sense, where “the disappeared” then means those who were disappeared, e.g. los desaparecidos of Chile.


You’ve heard to old joke about bricking the camel?


Is “bricking the camel” at all similar to the bit in Settlers of Catan where you can turn three sheep into one brick? …No, no, it’s probably not like that at all.

I’ve always sort of had this mental picture of some diabolical machine which compresses unfortunate farm animals into small, dense building material form. I know, it’s a horrible thing to contemplate. I blame the Germans.


Another example: “to verb.”


To “ninja,” actually became a household term at my folks’ place a couple of years ago. Our family dog was just big enough to get onto the kitchen counter and just young enough not to know better.

What’s more, he was both silent and fast. My parents, who still call me for help finding the ‘reply all’ button, still occasionally use the term.

Post a comment



You can use HTML style tags or Markdown.


Comment Preview: