Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or being the British universities other than Oxford and Cambridge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. of, or relating to a red brick university
  • adj. made of red brick

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of or relating to British universities founded in the late 19th century or the 20th century

Etymologies

So-called because many of the buildings of such universities were built of red bricks.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • U.S. Forces Korea and its attendant bureaucracies are located in redbrick buildings that the Americans inherited in 1945 from the Japanese occupiers.

    When North Korea Falls

  • Students who 'avoid challenge' of traditional subjects miss out on places at Oxbridge or 'redbrick' institutions

    Universities admit 'soft' A-levels damage chance of top places

  • Straight ahead of me lay the main quadrangle of Chase College, redbrick buildings with steep slate roofs and multipaned windows.

    Dark Secrets 2: No Time to Die the Deep End of Fear

  • “Come,” he said to his dog and, scratching his bare abdomen, which had been made lean and hard by the work he did around the ranch, he padded down the hall of the nondescript redbrick ranch house and into the kitchen.

    A Light at Winter’s End

  • A block-long, redbrick beacon stood out against the night.

    Surrender the Dark

  • Fancy and Kit jounced along redbrick streets past low, colorful buildings.

    Slice Of Cherry

  • They visited Novodevichy Convent, with its redbrick walls rising beside a lake and an elaborate cemetery on its grounds.

    Henry’s Demons

  • She was one of a group who rented the redbrick premises in Wharf Street as a local contribution to preparations for protests against the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005.

    Second police officer to infiltrate environmental activists unmasked

  • It was housed in a redbrick building with a steeple on top, all surrounded by lawn with a wide cement path and two short sets of stairs leading into the building, where lots of people were milling around.

    The Sins of Brother Curtis

  • *The Kings had bought the redbrick house with a drive-under garage and neatly fenced yard in 1965 for $10,000.

    Burial for a King

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Comments

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  • Reading is a redbrick, although one of the shabbier ones.

    January 23, 2008

  • I associate the term redbrick with the University of Reading. Which is well-regarded, and was given its charter between the two world wars. Suggesting that AWAD is indeed off the mark on this one.

    January 23, 2008

  • Oh dear. Is this the start of a Wikipedia-A.Word.A.Day smackdown? I'll get the popcorn!

    January 23, 2008

  • Not quite, AWAD. Wordnet is correct. Redbrick universities are basically those built in England before WWII, with the exception of Oxbridge, UCL, and arguably Durham. Many of the original structures were indeed built from Victorian red brick. See Wikipedia.

    Universities founded in the 60's / 70's / 80's explosion in higher education, and initially referred to as polytechnics, are traditionally looked down-upon by redbricks, just as redbricks have been traditionally scorned by Oxbridge. So in the sense of education, this word has gone from meaning "lacking prestige" to somewhat the opposite. To graduate from a redbrick university is comparatively respectable these days.

    January 23, 2008

  • "Lacking prestige. The term usually describes universities. A redbrick university is one built in the UK after WWII, as opposed to the older prestigious institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge. The term is mostly used in the UK."
    - A.Word.A.Day

    January 23, 2008