from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A person, especially a soldier, who avoids assigned duties or work; a shirker.
- intransitive v. To shirk one's assigned duties or responsibilities.
- transitive v. To cheat; swindle.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A gold brick, especially one that is fraudulent or nonexistent; also used figuratively.
- n. A shirker or malingerer
- n. A swindler
- v. To shirk or malinger
- v. To swindle
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. an idle worthless person.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a soldier who performs his duties without proper care or effort
- v. avoid (one's assigned duties)
- n. anything that is supposed to be valuable but turns out to be worthless
- n. an idle worthless person
- v. deprive of by deceit
- n. a brick-shaped block that looks like gold but is not
gold + brick, originally (1850s) an actual gold ingot or “gold brick/goldbrick”, later a swindle that consisted of selling a putative goldbrick, which was only coated in gold. The swindle is attested from 1879, the sense “to swindle” is attested 1902, and the sense “to shirk” is attested 1914, popularized as World War I armed forces slang. In early 1900s, used to refer to an unattractive young woman – not pretty, nor able to talk or dance (attested 1903), thence to refer to incompetent enlisted troops at the start of World War I, reinforced by the rank insignia of second lieutenants, which was a gold rectangle. (Wiktionary)