Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Atropos has decreed that I at least shall never again enter her walls.

The walls are hung with blue Florentine silk, embossed in silver.

The walls were done in white with a faint blue and silver stripe.

Tulips are opening their variegated cups, and daffodils line the walls.

It is now a mere platform, with the walls running up on two sides only.

The gates stand open, and there are three thousand of them within the walls.

On the walls were hung some pieces of tapestry, where there were not bookcases.

Others, in despair, flung themselves from the walls, and for the most part perished.

They caught the Indian carriers, who were just easing their loads under the walls.

In every direction the view is restricted or terminated by walls of rock.


Old English weall "rampart" (natural as well as man-made), also "defensive fortification around a city, side of a building, interior partition," an Anglo-Frisian and Saxon borrowing (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wal) from Latin vallum "wall, rampart, row or line of stakes," apparently a collective form of vallus "stake." Swedish vall, Danish val are from Low German.

In this case, English uses one word where many languages have two, e.g. German Mauer "outer wall of a town, fortress, etc.," used also in reference to the former Berlin Wall, and wand "partition wall within a building" (cf. the distinction, not always rigorously kept, in Italian muro/parete, Irish mur/fraig, Lithuanian muras/siena, etc.).

Phrase up the wall "angry, crazy" is from 1951; off the wall "unorthodox, unconventional" is recorded from 1966, American English student slang. Wall-to-wall (adj.) recorded 1953, of carpeting; metaphoric use (usually disparaging) is from 1967.

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.