Pronunciation: (wôl), [key]
1. any of various permanent upright constructions having a length much greater than the thickness and presenting a continuous surface except where pierced by doors, windows, etc.: used for shelter, protection, or privacy, or to subdivide interior space, to support floors, roofs, or the like, to retain earth, to fence in an area, etc.
2. Usually, walls. a rampart raised for defensive purposes.
3. an immaterial or intangible barrier, obstruction, etc., suggesting a wall: a wall of prejudice.
4. a wall-like, enclosing part, thing, mass, etc.: a wall of fire; a wall of troops.
5. an embankment to prevent flooding, as a levee or sea wall.
6. the Wall.See Berlin Wall.
7. the outermost film or layer of structural material protecting, surrounding, and defining the physical limits of an object: the wall of a blood cell.
a. the side of a level or drift.
b. the overhanging or underlying side of a vein; a hanging wall or footwall.
9. climb the walls or climb walls, Slang.to become tense or frantic: climbing the walls with boredom.
10. drive or push to the wall, to force into a desperate situation; humiliate or ruin completely: Not content with merely winning the match, they used every opportunity to push the inferior team to the wall.
11. go over the wall, Slang.to break out of prison: Roadblocks have been set up in an effort to capture several convicts who went over the wall.
12. go to the wall,
a. to be defeated in a conflict or competition; yield.
b. to fail in business, esp. to become bankrupt.
c. to be put aside or forgotten.
d. to take an extreme and determined position or measure: I'd go to the wall to stop him from resigning.
13. hit the wall, (of long-distance runners) to reach a point in a race, usually after 20 miles, when the body's fuels are virtually depleted and willpower becomes crucial to be able to finish.
14. off the wall, Slang.
a. beyond the realm of acceptability or reasonableness: The figure you quoted for doing the work is off the wall.
b. markedly out of the ordinary; eccentric; bizarre: Some of the clothes in the fashion show were too off the wall for the average customer.
15. up against the wall,
a. placed against a wall to be executed by a firing squad.
b. in a crucial or critical position, esp. one in which defeat or failure seems imminent: Unless sales improve next month, the company will be up against the wall.
16. up the wall, Slang.into an acutely frantic, frustrated, or irritated state: The constant tension in the office is driving everyone up the wall.
1. of or pertaining to a wall: wall space.
2. growing against or on a wall: wall plants; wall cress.
3. situated, placed, or installed in or on a wall: wall oven; a wall safe.
1. to enclose, shut off, divide, protect, border, etc., with or as if with a wall (often fol. by in or off): to wall the yard; to wall in the play area; He is walled in by lack of opportunity.
2. to seal or fill (a doorway or other opening) with a wall: to wall an unused entrance.
3. to seal or entomb (something or someone) within a wall (usually fol. by up): The workmen had walled up the cat quite by mistake.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.