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wall, in architecture, protective, enclosing, or dividing vertical structure. Its thickness is determined by the material, height, and stress. It may be of studding and lath, either boarded or plastered; adobe; rammed earth; brickwork or stonework; concrete; tile; or of steel in combination with one or more of the preceding materials. The wall serves two functions. A bearing wall is used as a support, e.g., for the floors and roof. Usually raised on foundations, it is thicker at the bottom than at the top and is often buttressed. A nonbearing wall, such as a partition screen or curtain wall, is used to separate and define spaces and is generally much thinner. A party wall is one common to two adjoining buildings, and a gable wall is one at right angles to the roof ridge. A fire wall, or bulkhead, separates hazardous equipment from the rest of a structure to prevent the spreading of fire; in ships the bulkhead is also watertight. The front wall or face of a building is termed the facade. Exterior walls may be finished with stucco or graffito and enhanced by bas-relief, tile, mosaic, or painted decoration. Arcade, rustication, and vermiculated work are means of ornamenting brick and stone masonry. In engineering a retaining wall either of Cyclopean or of wet masonry protects an embankment from washing; a sea wall, or breakwater, is for harbor protection; and a dam is an earth, masonry, or concrete wall to stop the natural flow of a stream to conserve a water supply or create power. The defensive walls of a city or other political division (see Great Wall of China) are frequently two or three concentric ramparts, often including fortification and watchtowers. Great portals form the gateways. Notable walls of antiquity were those of Thebes, Troy, Jericho, and Babylon; an example of a medieval wall is that at Carcassonne in France.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


A structure that encloses or subdivides a space with a continuous surface; except where fenestration or other openings occur.

balloon frame wall

A system of framing a wooden building wherein the exterior bearing walls and partitions consists of single studs that extend the full height of the frame from the top of the soleplate to the roof plate.

bearing wall

Supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.

cant wall

A wall canted in elevation from true vertical.

cantilever retaining wall

A wall retaining soil that acts as a cantilevered beam as opposed to one acting as a continuous beam spanning between supports.

cavity wall

An exterior wall, usually of masonry, consisting of an outer course and an inner course separated by a continuous air space connected by metal ties.

curtain wall

A method of construction in which all building loads are transmitted to a metal skeleton frame, so that the non-load-bearing exterior walls of metal and glass are simply a protective cladding.

exterior wall

A wall that is part of the envelope of a building thereby having one face exposed to the weather or to earth.

fire wall

Any fire-resistant wall that separates one building from another or that subdivides a large building into smaller spaces; it is usually continuous from the foundations extending above the roof.

foundation wall

A wall below, or partly below grade, to provide support for the exterior walls or other parts of the structure.

gable wall

A wall which continues to the roofline on the gable end of a structure.

gravity retaining wall

Retaining wall that relies on the weight of the masonry or concrete for its stability.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(or longwall), in mining, an underground mine working with a long working face, in which minerals are extracted. Its length may be 25–350 m or more, depending on the mining and geologic conditions and the system of exploitation of the deposit. In the USSR (1971), about 70 percent of the annual coal output is mined by the longwall system. The cutting, loading, and transportation of coal has been fully mechanized in 85 percent of all longwall systems in the USSR (1971). The term “wall” (in Russian, lava) was first used in the mines of the Donbas; it was first used in literature in A. I. Kuprin’s short story “In the Bowels of the Earth” (1899).



the principal enclosing member of a building. Walls not only serve as partitions but also have some load-bearing functions, since they are used as supports that accept vertical and horizontal loads. The major requirements of walls are strength, heat retention, noise insulation, fire resistance, durability, acceptable appearance, and economy.

A distinction is made between exterior and interior walls. According to their structural behavior, exterior walls are classified as (1) bearing walls, which, in addition to their own weight, accept loads from roofs, floors, and wind pressure and transfer these loads to the foundation, (2) shear walls, which rest on the foundation and support the load only of their own weight (throughout the floors of the building) and which are attached to the frame of the building to provide stability, and (3) nonbearing walls (including curtain walls), which support their own weight only within a single floor and transfer the load to the frame or other supporting members of the building.

Interior walls may be bearing or nonbearing. Nonbearing interior walls, or partitions, are designed only to separate rooms from one another; they are installed directly on floors. Ducting and chases for ventilation and gas, water, and plumbing lines are often incorporated in interior walls. Bearing walls, roofs, and floors form a stable three-dimensional system of the frame of a building. In frame structures, shear walls often act as diaphragms to provide lateral support.

Prefabricated, monolithic, and manually raised walls differ in the method used to erect them. Prefabricated walls are assembled from factory-prepared elements. Monolithic walls, usually made of concrete, are cast in place with movable or sliding form-work. Manually raised walls consist of small blocks of some building material set in mortar. Large-block and large-panel prefabricated walls differ in size of their prefabricated elements, the degree of factory prefabrication, and the system used for their sectioning. Single-layer and multilayer walls differ in their structural design.

The choice of materials used for walls depends on climatic conditions, the purpose and required strength of the building, the number of stories, and technical and economic considerations. Bearing walls in multistory buildings are made of brick, ceramic blocks, large blocks of lightweight and cellular concrete, reinforced-concrete panels, and other large-size components. Non-bearing walls must have minimum weight; they are made from multilayer reinforced-concrete panels with efficient thermal insulation and from panels made of especially lightweight concrete and asbestos cement. Wood, silica and unfired brick, slag-concrete and ceramic blocks, and natural stone are used in low-rise buildings.

To a large extent, walls determine the structural design and overall appearance of a building. The wall material used often denotes the building’s architectural and structural classification: large-panel, large-block, brick, log, and frame-panel.


Konstruktsii grazhdanskikh zdanii. Edited by M. S. Tupolev. Moscow, 1968.
Konstruktsii promyshlennykh zdanii. Edited by A. N. Popov. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a wall?

Dreaming about a wall could be about our defensiveness, or a dream wall could represent a sense of security. The term “wall” is also central to many idioms, and the dream could be drawing on the meaning of one of these, such as: the “writing on the wall,” “off the wall,” our “back against the wall,” “talking to a brick wall,” or “hitting one’s head against the wall.”

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A vertical structure or member forming an enclosure or defining a space.
The side of a cave passage.
(mining engineering)
The side of a level or drift.
The country rock bounding a vein laterally.
The face of a longwall working or stall, commonly called coal wall.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. A structure which serves to enclose or subdivide a building, usually presenting a continuous surface except where penetrated by doors, windows, and the like.
2. A rampart.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Anatomy any lining, membrane, or investing part that encloses or bounds a bodily cavity or structure
2. Mountaineering a vertical or almost vertical smooth rock face
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Unix's "write all" command which sends a message to everyone currently logged in.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

Facebook Timeline

The section on Facebook where members post their latest comments. The Timeline superseded the "Wall" format for business Pages; however, the Wall is still used by many individuals for their Profiles. Postings on the Timeline/Wall are in chronological order like a blog. Members can also post messages to their friends' Timelines/Walls if their friends allow them. See Facebook and Facebook News Feed.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.


Walls as dream images are generally considered obstacles and sources of isolation or confinement. Some people are emotionally guarded and feel unable to express themselves freely. If you are such a person, this dream symbol might be pointing to the walls that you have built around yourself. Additionally, if you are experiencing challenges and seemingly impenetrable difficulties in daily life, the wall in your dream may be a reflection of those factors. Consider your current situation and attempt to identify the source of the walls in your dream. Climbing the wall suggests that you are becoming prepared for or are able to overcome difficulties and/or challenges.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.