n. & v.
n. 1 a a continuous and usu. vertical structure of usu. brick or stone, having little width in proportion to its length and height and esp. enclosing, protecting, or dividing a space or supporting a roof. b the surface of a wall, esp. inside a room (hung the picture on the wall). 2 anything like a wall in appearance or effect, esp.: a the steep side of a mountain. b a protection or obstacle (a wall of steel bayonets; a wall of indifference). c Anat. the outermost layer or enclosing membrane etc. of an organ, structure, etc. d the outermost part of a hollow structure (stomach wall). e Mining rock enclosing a lode or seam.
v.tr. 1 (esp. as walled adj.) surround or protect with a wall (walled garden). 2 a (usu. foll. by up, off) block or seal (a space etc.) with a wall. b (foll. by up) enclose (a person) within a sealed space (walled them up in the dungeon). go to the wall be defeated or pushed aside. off the wall US sl. unorthodox, unconventional. up the wall colloq. crazy or furious (went up the wall when he heard). wall bar one of a set of parallel bars, attached to the wall of a gymnasium, on which exercises are performed. wall-barley wild barley as a weed. wall-board a type of wall-covering made from wood pulp etc. wall cress = ARABIS. wall-fern an evergreen polypody, Polypodium vulgare, with very large leaves. wall-fruit fruit grown on trees trained against a wall for protection and warmth. wall game Brit. a form of football played at Eton. wall-knot = wale-knot. wall-painting a mural or fresco. wall pepper a succulent stonecrop, Sedum acre, with a pungent taste. wall-plate timber laid in or on a wall to distribute the pressure of a girder etc. wall rocket see ROCKET(2). wall rue a small fern, Adiantum ruta-muraria, with leaves like rue, growing on walls and rocks. walls have ears it is unsafe to speak openly, as there may be eavesdroppers. wall-to-wall 1 (of a carpet) fitted to cover a whole room etc. 2 colloq. profuse, ubiquitous (wall-to-wall pop music). walling n. wall-less adj.
[ OE f. L vallum rampart f. vallus stake ]