Meaning of WALL in English

I. ˈwȯl noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English weall rampart, wall; akin to Old Saxon wal rampart, Middle High German wall; all from a prehistoric West Germanic word borrowed from Latin vallum rampart set with palisades, wall, from vallus stake, palisade; akin to Sanskrit vala beam, pole, Gothic walus stick, staff, Old Norse völr round stick, valr round, Latin volvere to roll — more at voluble



(1) : a high thick masonry structure forming an enclosure chiefly for defense against invasion

hurled stones and spears at the attackers from the wall

— usually used in plural

citizens ran to defend the walls of the city

(2) : a masonry fence around a garden, park, or estate

the wall of the villa follows the road for miles

b. : a rampart of considerable height and thickness and usually great length serving as a fortification (as on a border between territories or countries)

the great Chinese wall extended for more than 1500 miles

c. : a structure that serves to hold back pressure (as of water or sliding earth) — see retaining wall , seawall

2. : a vertical architectural member used to define and divide space

a continuously curving wall gives the building its shape

especially : one of the sides of a room or building that connects the floor and ceiling or foundation and roof

the inside walls are all movable — London Calling

the house has a glass wall facing the garden

— see cavity wall , faced wall , nonbearing partition , party wall , storage wall

3. : the side of a footpath next to buildings

the passenger who takes the wall brushes the dim glass with his sleeve — Charles Dickens


a. : an extreme or desperate position — usually used in the phrase to the wall

schools whose teachers … were driven to the wall financially — Dixon Wecter

pushing them to the wall in the competitive struggle — T.W.Arnold

b. : a state of defeat, failure, or ruin — usually used in the phrase to the wall

let the weakest go to the wall — Art & Industry

since the war, several … magazines have gone to the wall — P.W.Crowcroft

5. walls plural : a physical, intellectual, or spiritual area of influence

evident to those outside our academic walls — J.B.Conant


a. : the external layer of structural material surrounding an object

surgical instruments for penetrating the wall of the body

muscle wall

— often used in plural

staves form the walls of a barrel

stomach walls


(1) : one of the surfaces of country rock lying adjacent to a vein, ore deposit, or coal seam

(2) : one of the surfaces of a geological fault zone — see footwall , hanging wall



(1) : something resembling a wall in appearance

a towering mountain wall

a wall of water, 75 feet high, … rushed upon the city — American Guide Series: Pennsylvania

a stream flowing between the valley walls

(2) : something that resembles a wall in function especially by establishing limits or providing defense

a sovereign state would be outside the American tariff walls — S.F.Bemis

two men hurt on the football team's forward wall

going through the enemy's wall in linear formation — Tom Wintringham

b. : something immaterial or intangible that acts as a barrier to communication, understanding, or accomplishment

the wall of reserve the old man had built around himself — Ben Riker

break down the wall of condescension — Charles Angoff

unable to break through the wall of employer resistance — Frank O'Leary

8. : the arrangement of tiles previous to the drawing of hands in a Mah-Jongg game

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English wallen, from wall, n.


a. : to provide or cover with a wall

to keep out street noises … the house was walled on that facade — Current Biography

b. : to surround or confine with or as if with walls : hem in — usually used with in

planning to wall in the garden for privacy

a lake walled in by snow-covered peaks

was walled in by authority — W.P.Webb

c. : to separate or shut out by means of or as if by means of a wall : partition — usually used with off

walled off half the house to make two apartments

walled off their world … from the rest of human society — H.S.Truman

d. : to border or form a boundary on in the manner of a wall : bound

tall chestnut trees wall the broad avenue


a. : to shut behind a wall : seal within or as if within walls : immure , incarcerate — usually used with up

had walled the monster up within the tomb — E.A.Poe

compelled … to spend their time walling up this danger — Lillian Smith

b. : to seal up (an opening) with or as if with a wall

walled up the crevice — Oliver La Farge

3. : to cover the walls of (a room) with something

this study is walled with books — Lucien Price

Synonyms: see enclose

III. adjective

: of or relating to a wall : beside, attached to, or growing on a wall

wall cabinets

a wall clock

wall plants

IV. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English (Scots) wawlen, probably from Middle English wawil- (in wawil-eghed walleyed) — more at walleyed

transitive verb

: to roll (one's eyes) in or as if in expression of emotion

mooning about, … playacting and walling her eyes — Frances G. Patton

intransitive verb

of the eyes : to roll in a dramatic manner

big eyes would wall up to the ceiling with a look of fear in them — Carson McCullers

V. noun

( -s )

: wall knot

VI. noun

- up against the wall

- up the wall

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.