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    Brontë — B.Sc.


    surname of the famous family of English authors; the current version is a scholarly convention and until after the deaths of the sisters it was variously spelled and accented. Juliet Barker ("The Brontës," 1994), writes that their father was registered at Cambridge in 1802 as "Patrick Branty," which he soon corrected to Bronte. The family was Irish Protestant. "At a time when literacy was extremely rare, especially in rural districts of Ireland, the usual Brontë name was spelt in a variety of ways, ranging from Prunty to Brunty and Bruntee, with no consistent version until Patrick himself decided on 'Bronte'." [Barker]ETD Brontë.2

    brontophobia (n.)

    "fear of thunder and thunderstorms," 1905 (but it appears in Flügel's 1891 German-English dictionary, translated as Gewitterfurcht), with -phobia + Greek brontē "thunder," which is perhaps from PIE imitative root *bhrem- "to growl." Brontēs was the name of one of the Cyclopes in Greek mythology, and bronteion was the name of the ancient theatrical machine for producing a sound of thunder.ETD brontophobia (n.).2

    brontosaurus (n.)

    one of the first well-known dinosaurs, popularly noted for its great size and small brain capacity, 1879, coined by U.S. paleontologist O.C. Marsh in Modern Latin, from Greek brontē "thunder" (perhaps from PIE imitative root *bhrem- "to growl") + -saurus. The confusion with apatosaurus dates to at least 1903 and scientists still debate whether they are the same species or not.ETD brontosaurus (n.).2

    brontothere (n.)

    extinct genus of gigantic mammals, 1877, Modern Latin, from Greek brontē "thunder" (probably imitative) + Greek thērion "beast, wild beast, hunted animal" (from PIE root *ghwer- "wild beast").ETD brontothere (n.).2


    borough of New York City, named for Jonas Bronck, who settled there in 1641.ETD Bronx.2

    The derisive Bronx cheer ("made by blowing through closed lips, usually with the tongue between" - OED) is attested by 1921.ETD Bronx.3

    bronze (n.)

    1721, "alloy of copper and (usually) a smaller amount of tin," from French bronze, from Italian bronzo, from Medieval Latin bronzium, which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps cognate (via notion of color) with Venetian bronza "glowing coals," or German brunst "fire." Perhaps influenced by Latin Brundisium the Italian town of Brindisi (Pliny writes of aes Brundusinum). Perhaps ultimately from Persian birinj "copper."ETD bronze (n.).2

    In Middle English, the distinction between bronze (copper-tin alloy) and brass (copper-zinc alloy) was not clear, and both were called bras (see brass (n.)). Used historically for bells, cannons, statuary, and fine mechanical works. Also from French are Dutch brons, German Bronze, etc., and ultimately from the Medieval Latin word are Spanish bronce, Russian bronza, Polish bronc, Albanian brunze, etc.ETD bronze (n.).3

    A bronze medal has been given to a third-place finisher at least since 1852. The archaeological Bronze Age (1850) falls between the Stone and Iron ages, and is a reference to the principal material for making weapons and ornaments.ETD bronze (n.).4

    bronze (v.)

    1640s, "give the color or appearance of bronze to," from French bronzer (16c.) or else from bronze (n.). Figuratively, of feelings, hearts, etc., "to harden like bronze," 1726. The meaning "to make to be brown or bronze in color" (by exposure to the sun, etc.) is from 1792. Related: Bronzed; bronzing.ETD bronze (v.).2

    brooch (n.)

    "ornamental clasp consisting of a pin and a covering shield," early 13c., from Old French broche "long needle" (see broach (n.)). Specialized meaning led 14c. to distinct spelling.ETD brooch (n.).2

    brood (n.)

    Old English brod "offspring of egg-laying animals, hatchlings, young birds hatched in one nest," from Proto-Germanic *brod (source also of Middle Dutch broet, Old High German bruot, German Brut "brood"), etymologically "that which is hatched by heat," from *bro- "to warm, heat," from PIE *bhre- "burn, heat, incubate," from root *bhreu- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn." The meaning "human offspring, children of one family" is from c. 1300.ETD brood (n.).2

    brooding (adj.)

    1640s, "hovering, persistently overhanging" (as a mother bird does her nest), from present participle of brood (v.); meaning "that dwells moodily" is attested from 1818 (in "Frankenstein").ETD brooding (adj.).2

    brooding (n.)

    "action of incubating," c. 1400, verbal noun from brood (v.). Figuratively (of weather, etc.) from 1805; of mental fixations by 1873. Related: Broodingly.ETD brooding (n.).2

    brood (v.)

    mid-15c., "sit on eggs for the purpose of hatching them," from brood (n.). The figurative meaning "meditate long and anxiously" (to "incubate in the mind") is attested by 1570s, from notion of "nursing" one's anger, resentment, etc. Related: Brooded; brooding. Brood mare "female horse kept for breeding" is from 1829.ETD brood (v.).2

    broody (adj.)

    1510s, "apt or fit to breed," from brood (v.) + -y (2). Figuratively, of persons, "inclined to think long and deeply," from 1851. Also, in modern use (by 1980s), sometimes "full of maternal yearning." Related: Broodily; broodiness.ETD broody (adj.).2

    brook (n.)

    "small natural stream," Old English broc "flowing stream, torrent," of obscure origin, probably from Proto-Germanic *broka- which yielded words in German (Bruch) and Dutch (broek) that have a sense of "marsh, bog." In Sussex and Kent, it means "water-meadow," and in plural, "low, marshy ground."ETD brook (n.).2


    fem. proper name, rare in U.S. before 1965, popular 1980s, 1990s.ETD Brooke.2

    brook (v.)

    "to endure," Old English brucan "to use, enjoy the use of, possess; eat; cohabit with," from Proto-Germanic *brukjanan "to make use of, enjoy" (source also of Old Saxon brukan, Old Frisian bruka "to use, practice," Dutch gebruiken "to use," Old High German bruhhan, German brauchen "to use, need," Gothic brukjan), from PIE root *bhrug- "to enjoy." The sense of "use" as applied to food led to that of "be able to digest," and by 16c. to "endure, tolerate," always in a negative sense. The original meanings have become obsolete.ETD brook (v.).2


    New York City borough, named for village founded there 1646 and named for Dutch township of Breukelen near Utrecht; which is from Old High German bruoh "moor, marshland." The spelling of U.S. place name was influenced by brook (n.), which probably is distantly related. Related: Brooklynese.ETD Brooklyn.2

    broom (n.)

    Old English brom, popular name for several types of shrubs common throughout Europe (used medicinally and for fuel) and characterized by long, slender branches and many yellow flowers, from Proto-Germanic *bræmaz "thorny bush" (source also of Dutch braam, German Brombeere "blackberry"), from PIE *bh(e)rem- "to project; a point."ETD broom (n.).2

    As "twigs of broom tied together to a handle to make a tool for sweeping," mid-14c. Traditionally, both the flowers and sweeping with broom twigs were considered unlucky in May (Suffolk, Sussex, Wiltshire, etc.). A new broom sweeps clean is attested by 1809.ETD broom (n.).3

    broomstick (n.)

    also broom-stick, "stick or handle of a broom," 1680s, from broom (n.) + stick (n.). Earlier was broom-staff (1610s). Broom-handle is from 1817. The witch's flying broomstick originally was one among many such objects (pitchfork, trough, bowl), but the broomstick became fixed as the popular tool of supernatural flight via engravings from a famous Lancashire witch trial of 1612. Broomstick marriage, in reference to an informal wedding ceremony in which the parties jump over a broomstick, is attested from 1774.ETD broomstick (n.).2

    brose (n.)

    Scottish dish of boiling milk, liquid in which meat has been broiled, seasoning, etc., poured over oatmeal or barley meal, 1650s, Scottish, earlier browes, from Old French broez, nominative of broet (13c.) "stew, soup made from meat broth," diminutive of breu, from Medieval Latin brodium, from Old High German brod "broth" (see broth). Athol brose (1801) was "honey and whisky mixed together in equal parts," taken as a cure for hoarseness or sore throat.ETD brose (n.).2

    broth (n.)

    "liquid in which flesh is boiled," Old English broþ, from Proto-Germanic *bruthan (source also of Old High German *brod, Old Norse broð), from verb root *bhreue- "to heat, boil, bubble;" also "liquid in which something has been boiled" (from PIE root *bhreu- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn"). Picked up from Germanic by the Romanic and Celtic languages (Italian brodo, Spanish brodio, Old French breu, Irish broth, Gaelic brot).ETD broth (n.).2

    The Irishism broth of a boy, which is in Byron, was "thought to originate from the Irish Broth, passion — Brotha passionate, spirited ..." [Farmer], and if so is not immediately related, but rather, with Scottish braith, from Middle English bratthe "violence, impetuosity; anger, rage" (c. 1200), which is from Old Norse braðr "sudden, hasty," from brað "haste."ETD broth (n.).3

    brothel (n.)

    "bawdy house," 1590s, shortened from brothel-house, from brothel "prostitute" (late 15c.), earlier "vile, worthless person" of either sex (14c.), from Old English broðen past participle of breoðan "deteriorate, go to ruin," from Proto-Germanic *breuthan "to be broken up," related to *breutan "to break" (see brittle). In 16c. brothel-house was confused with unrelated bordel (see bordello) and the word shifted meaning from a person to a place.ETD brothel (n.).2

    brother (n.)

    "male person in his relation to another person or other persons of either sex born of the same parents," Old English broþor, from Proto-Germanic *brothar (source also of Old Norse broðir, Danish broder, Old Frisian brother, Dutch broeder, Old High German bruodar, German Bruder, Gothic bróþar), from PIE root *bhrater-.ETD brother (n.).2

    A stable word across the Indo-European languages (Sanskrit bhrátár-, Greek phratér, Latin frater, etc.). Hungarian barát is from Slavic; Turkish birader is from Persian.ETD brother (n.).3

    Other words sometimes come to mean "brother," when the cognate of brother is widely to "member of a fraternity," or as an appellation of a monk (Italian fra, Portuguese frade, Old French frere), or where there was need to distinguish "son of the same mother" from "son of the same father." For example Greek adelphos, which probably originally was an adjective with phrater and meant, specifically, "brother of the womb" or "brother by blood," and became the main word as phrater became "one of the same tribe." Spanish hermano "brother" is from Latin germanus "full brother" (on both the father's and mother's side); Middle English also had brother-german in this sense.ETD brother (n.).4

    The meaning "male person in relation to any other person of the same ancestry" in English is from late 14c. The sense of "member of a mendicant order" is from c. 1500. As a familiar term of address from one man to another, it is attested from 1912 in U.S. slang; the specific use among Black American is by 1973.ETD brother (n.).5

    brotherhood (n.)

    14c., "fraternal relation, relationship between sons of the same father or mother," from brother + -hood; earlier was brotherhede (c. 1300), with ending as in maidenhead; and Old English had broþerrede, with ending as in kindred. The modern form of the word prevailed from 15c.ETD brotherhood (n.).2

    Originally "relationship of a brother," also "friendly companionship." The concrete sense of "an association of men for any purpose, a fraternity" is from mid-14c. in the Middle English word (later also "labor union," 1880s). The meaning "a class of individuals of the same kind" is from 1728. The meaning "community feeling uniting all humankind" is from 1784. Old English also had broðorscipe "brothership," broðorsibb "kinship of brothers."ETD brotherhood (n.).3

    ***ETD brotherhood (n.).4

    brother-in-law (n.)

    "brother of one's husband or wife," also "brother of one's sister's husband," c. 1300; also brother in law; see brother + in-law. In Arabic, Urdu, Swahili, etc., brother-in-law, when addressed to a male who is not a brother-in-law, is an extreme insult, with implications of "I slept with your sister."ETD brother-in-law (n.).2

    Brother Jonathan (n.)

    sobriquet for "United States," 1816, often connected with Jonathan Trumbull (1740-1809) of Connecticut, who was called Brother Jonathan by George Washington, who often sought his advice, somehow in reference to 2 Sam i:26.ETD Brother Jonathan (n.).2

    brotherly (adj.)

    Middle English brotherli, "between brothers," from Old English broðorlic "of or pertaining to a brother;" see brother + -ly (1). The meaning "fraternal, kind, affectionate" is from 1530s.ETD brotherly (adj.).2

    brotherliness (n.)

    Old English broðorlichnes, in a literal sense, "state or quality of being brothers;" see brotherly + -ness. The meaning "quality of being fraternally kind or affectionate" is from 1530s.ETD brotherliness (n.).2

    brougham (n.)

    by 1849, one- or two-horse closed carriage with two or four wheels, for two or four persons, named for first Lord Brougham (1778-1868), Scottish jurist and reformer, who had one built for himself c. 1839. The family name is from a place in Westmoreland. In 19c. often synonymous with coupe.ETD brougham (n.).2


    past tense and past participle of bring (v.). For explanation of the form development, see thought.ETD brought.2

    brouhaha (n.)

    "hubbub, uproar, confused and angry scene," 1890, from French brouhaha (15c.), said by Gamillscheg to have been, in medieval theater, "the cry of the devil disguised as clergy." If it has an etymology, it is perhaps from Hebrew barukh habba' "blessed be the one who comes," used on public occasions (as in Psalm cxviii).ETD brouhaha (n.).2

    brow (n.)

    c. 1300, broue, plural broues, brouen, "arch of hair over the eye," also extended to the prominent ridge over the eye (early 14c.), from Old English bru (plural brua), which probably originally meant "eyebrow" (but also was used in the sense of "eyelash"), from Proto-Germanic *brus- "eyebrow" (source also of Old Norse brun), from PIE *bhru- "eyebrow" (source also of Sanskrit bhrus "eyebrow," Greek ophrys, Old Church Slavonic bruvi, Lithuanian bruvis "brow," Old Irish bru "edge"). The -n- in the Old Norse (brun) and German (braune) forms of the word are from a genitive plural inflection.ETD brow (n.).2

    The sense was extended by c. 1200 to "the forehead," especially with reference to movements and expressions that showed emotion or attitude, hence "general expression of the face" (1590s). From c. 1400 as "the slope of a steep place."ETD brow (n.).3

    Words for "eyelid," "eyelash," and "eyebrow" changed about maddeningly in Old and Middle English (and in all the West Germanic languages). The extension of Old English bru to "eyelash," and later "eyelid" presumably was by association of the hair of the eyebrow with the hair of the eyelid. The eyebrows then became Old English oferbrua "overbrows" (early Middle English uvere breyhes or briges aboue þe eiges). The general word for "eyebrow" in Middle English was brew, breowen (c. 1200), from Old English bræw (West Saxon), *brew (Anglian), from Proto-Germanic *bræwi- "blinker, twinkler" (source also of Old Frisian bre, Old Saxon brawa, Middle Dutch brauwe "eyelid," Old High German brawa "eyebrow," Old Norse bra "eyebrow," Gothic brahw "twinkle, blink," in phrase in brahwa augins "in the twinkling of an eye").ETD brow (n.).4

    browbeat (v.)

    also brow-beat, "to bully," originally "to bear down with stern or arrogant looks," 1580s, from brow + beat (v.).ETD browbeat (v.).2

    Related: Browbeaten; browbeating.ETD browbeat (v.).3

    brown (adj.)

    Old English brun "dark, dusky," developing a definite color sense from 13c., from Proto-Germanic *brunaz (source also of Old Norse brunn, Danish brun, Old Frisian and Old High German brun, Dutch bruin, German braun), from PIE root *bher- (2) "bright; brown."ETD brown (adj.).2

    The Old English word also had a sense of "brightness, shining," preserved only in burnish. The Germanic word was adopted into Romanic (Middle Latin brunus, Italian and Spanish bruno, French brun).ETD brown (adj.).3

    Brown sugar is from 1704. Brown Bess, slang name for old British Army flintlock musket, is recorded by 1785. Brown study "state of mental abstraction or meditation" is from 1530s; OED says the notion is "gloomy." Brown-paper "kind of coarse, stout, unbleached paper used for wrapping" is from 1650s.ETD brown (adj.).4

    brown (v.)

    c. 1300, "to become brown," from brown (adj.). From 1560s as "to make brown." Related: Browned; browning.ETD brown (v.).2

    brown (n.)

    c. 1300, "a brown thing or part of a thing;" c. 1600, "brown color;" from brown (adj.).ETD brown (n.).2


    one of a range of U.S.-made firearms, 1905, named for inventor John M. Browning (1855-1926) of Utah.ETD Browning.2

    brown-bag (v.)

    "to bring lunch or liquor in a brown paper bag," 1970, from brown (adj.) + bag (n.). Related: Brown-bagging.ETD brown-bag (v.).2

    brownfield (n.)

    abandoned or disused industrial land, often contaminated to some degree, 1992, American English, from brown (adj.) + field (n.).ETD brownfield (n.).2

    brownie (n.)

    1510s, "benevolent goblin supposed to haunt old farmhouses in Scotland," diminutive of brown "a wee brown man" (see brown (adj.)).ETD brownie (n.).2

    As "small square of rich chocolate cake," often with nuts, 1897. As a brand-name of a type of inexpensive camera, 1900. The name for the junior branch of the Girl Guides or Girl Scouts is by 1916, in reference to their uniform color. Brownie point "notional credit for an achievement; favour in the eyes of another, esp. gained by sycophantic or servile behaviour" [OED] is by 1959, sometimes associated with Brownie in the Scouting sense but is perhaps rather from brown-nose.ETD brownie (n.).3

    Brownian movement (n.)

    "rapid oscillatory motion observed in very small particles," 1850, for Scottish scientist Dr. Robert Brown (1773-1858), who first described it.ETD Brownian movement (n.).2

    brownish (adj.)

    "somewhat brown," 1550s, from brown (adj.) + -ish.ETD brownish (adj.).2

    brown-nose (v.)

    also brownnose, "try excessively to make a good impression on one with authority," 1939, American English colloquial, said to be military slang originally, from brown (adj.) + nose (n.), "from the implication that servility is tantamount to having one's nose in the anus of the person from whom advancement is sought" [Webster, 1961, quoted in OED]. Related: Brown-noser (by 1945, early citations suggest military slang), brown-nosing (by 1950). British bumsucker "sycophant" is attested from 1877.ETD brown-nose (v.).2

    brown-out (n.)

    "partial blackout," 1942, based on blackout in the "dousing of lights as an air raid precaution" sense; from brown (adj.) as "not quite black."ETD brown-out (n.).2

    Brown Shirt (n.)

    generic term for "Nazi, fascist," especially of the thuggish sort, 1934, originally (1922) in reference to the German Sturmabteilung ("Storm Detachment"), the Nazi party militia founded 1921; they were called Brown Shirts in English because of their uniforms.ETD Brown Shirt (n.).2

    brownstone (n.)

    "dark sandstone," 1849, from brown (adj.) + stone (n.). It was quarried extensively from Triassic deposits in the U.S. Northeast and much-used there as a building stone. As "house or building fronted with brownstone" from 1932.ETD brownstone (n.).2

    browse (v.)

    mid-15c., brousen, "feed on buds, eat leaves or twigs from" trees or bushes, from Old French broster "to sprout, bud," from brost "young shoot, twig, green food fit for cattle or deer," probably from Proto-Germanic *brust- "bud, shoot," from PIE *bhreus- "to swell, sprout" (see breast (n.)). It lost its -t in English perhaps on the mistaken notion that the letter was a past-participle inflection. The figurative extension to "peruse" (books) is 1870s, American English. Related: Browsed; browsing.ETD browse (v.).2

    browser (n.)

    1845, "animal which browses," agent noun from browse (v.). From 1863 as "person who browses" among books. In the computer sense by 1982.ETD browser (n.).2

    brrr (interj.)

    sound suggestive shivering from cold, by 1898.ETD brrr (interj.).2


    a Norman surname, but etymology from Brix (place in La Manche, Normandy) is now considered doubtful ["Dictionary of English Surnames"]. Its earliest appearance in Britain is in the person of Robert de Bruis, a baron listed in the Domesday Book. His son, a friend of David I, king of Scotland, was granted by him in 1124 the lordship of Annandale, and David's son, Robert, founded the Scottish House of Bruce. As a given name for U.S. males, most popular for boys born c. 1946-1954.ETD Bruce.2

    brucellosis (n.)

    1930, Modern Latin, from Brucella, name of the bacteria that causes it, which is named for Scottish physician Sir David Bruce (1855-1931), who in 1887 discovered the bacteria, + -osis.ETD brucellosis (n.).2


    city in modern Belgium, from plural of Flemish brug "bridge," from the Proto-Germanic source of English bridge (n.).ETD Bruges.2

    Bruin (n.)

    proper name for a bear, late 15c., from Middle Dutch Bruin, name of the bear in "Reynard the Fox" fables; literally "brown;" cognate with English brown, German Braun (from PIE root *bher- (2) "bright; brown;" and compare bear (n.)).ETD Bruin (n.).2

    bruise (v.)

    Old English brysan "to crush, pound, injure by a blow which discolors the skin," from Proto-Germanic *brusjan, from PIE root *bhreu- "to smash, cut, break up" (source also of Old Irish bronnaim "I wrong, I hurt;" Breton brezel "war," Vulgar Latin *brisare "to break"). It merged by 17c. with Anglo-French bruiser "to break, smash," from Old French bruisier "to break, shatter," perhaps from Gaulish *brus-, from the same PIE root. Of fruits from early 14c. The intransitive sense of "become bruised" is by 1912. Related: Bruised; bruising.ETD bruise (v.).2

    bruise (n.)

    "contusion without laceration, superficial injury caused by impact," 1540s, from bruise (v.).ETD bruise (n.).2

    bruiser (n.)

    "a pugilist," 1744, agent noun from bruise (v.).ETD bruiser (n.).2

    bruit (v.)

    "to report," 1520s, from bruit (n.) "rumor, tiding, fame, renown" (mid-15c.), from Old French bruit (n.) "noise, uproar, rumor," derived noun from bruire "to make noise, roar" (cognate with Italian bruito, Medieval Latin brugitus), which is of uncertain origin. Related: Bruited; bruiting.ETD bruit (v.).2

    brulee (adj.)

    from French brûlée "burned," fem. past participle of brûler "to burn," from Old French brusler (11c.); see broil (v.1). Crème brûlée was known in English by various names from early 18c., including a translated burnt cream.ETD brulee (adj.).2

    brumal (adj.)

    "belonging to winter," 1510s, from Latin brumalis, from bruma "winter" (see brume). The Latin word also is the ultimate source of Brumaire, second month (Oct. 22-Nov. 20) in the calendar of the French Republic, literally "the foggy month;" coined 1793 by Fabre d'Eglantine from French brume "fog."ETD brumal (adj.).2

    brume (n.)

    "fog, mist," 1808, from French brume "fog" (14c.), in Old French, "wintertime," from Latin bruma "winter, winter solstice," perhaps with an etymological sense "season of the shortest day," from *brevima, contracted from brevissima, superlative of brevis "short" (from PIE root *mregh-u- "short").ETD brume (n.).2

    brummagem (adj.)

    "cheap and showy," 1829, from a noun formed from the vulgar pronunciation (noted by 1800) of Birmingham, England, in reference to articles mass-manufactured there. The word also recalls Birmingham's old reputation for counterfeiting.ETD brummagem (adj.).2


    1896, British student slang merger of breakfast and lunch.ETD brunch.2

    brunet (n.)

    "dark-complexioned person," generally male, 1890; from the adjective (1887), from French brunet, diminutive of brun "brown," which is from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *brunaz (source also of English brown; from PIE root *bher- (2) "bright; brown").ETD brunet (n.).2

    brunette (adj.)

    of a woman, "dark in complexion, having a brownish tone to the skin and hair," 1660s, from French brunette, fem. of brunet, from Old French brunet "brownish, brown-haired, dark-complexioned," fem. diminutive of brun "brown" (12c.), of West Germanic origin, from Proto-Germanic *brunaz (from PIE root *bher- (2) "bright; brown").ETD brunette (adj.).2

    As a noun, "woman with dark hair and eyes and of a dark complexion," from 1710. The metathesized form, Old French burnete, is the source of the surname Burnett. Burnete also was used of a wool-dyed cloth of superior quality, originally dark brown.ETD brunette (adj.).3


    dialectal past tense and past participle of bring (v.).ETD brung.2


    masc. proper name, from Old High German Bruno, literally "brown" (see brown (adj.)).ETD Bruno.2


    town and former imperial province of northern Germany, an Anglicization of German Braunschweig, literally "Bruno's settlement," from Bruno + Old Saxon wik "village," which is from Latin (see wick (n.2)). Traditionally founded c. 861 and named for Bruno son of Duke Ludolf of Saxony.ETD Brunswick.2

    brunt (n.)

    late 14c., "a sharp blow," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse brundr "sexual heat," or bruna "to advance like wildfire" (said of a ship under sail, etc.). The meaning "chief force, the heaviest or worst (of something)," as in bear the brunt, is from early 15c.ETD brunt (n.).2

    bruschetta (n.)

    garlic bread, 1967, from Italian bruschetta, Tuscan name for bread roasted on both sides, dribbled with olive oil and sometimes seasoned with garlic, from bruscare "to roast over coals."ETD bruschetta (n.).2

    brush (v.1)

    late 15c., "clean or rub (clothing) with a brush," also (mid-15c.) "beat with a brush," from brush (n.1). The meaning "move or skim over with a slight contact" is from 1640s. Related: Brushed; brushing. To brush off someone or something, "rebuff, dismiss," is from 1941. To brush up is from c. 1600 as "clean by brushing;" the figurative sense of "revive or refresh one's knowledge" of anything is from 1788.ETD brush (v.1).2

    brush (v.2)

    "move briskly" especially past or against something or someone, 1670s, from earlier sense "to hasten, rush" (c. 1400); probably from brush (n.2) on the notion of a horse, etc., passing through dense undergrowth (compare Old French brosser "to dash (through woods or thickets)," and Middle English noun brush "charge, onslaught, encounter," mid-14c.). But brush (n.1) probably has contributed something to it, and OED suggests the English word could be all or partly onomatopoeic. Related: Brushed; brushing.ETD brush (v.2).2

    brush (n.1)

    "instrument consisting of flexible material (bristles, hair, etc.) attached to a handle or stock," late 14c., "dust-sweeper, a brush for sweeping," from Old French broisse, broce "a brush" (13c., Modern French brosse), perhaps from Vulgar Latin *bruscia "a bunch of new shoots" (used to sweep away dust), perhaps from Proto-Germanic *bruskaz "underbrush." Compare brush (n.2). As an instrument for applying paint, late 15c.; as an instrument for playing drums, 1927. Meaning "an application of a brush" is from 1822.ETD brush (n.1).2

    brush (n.3)

    "a skirmish, a light encounter," c. 1400, probably from brush (v.2).ETD brush (n.3).2

    brush (n.2)

    "shrubbery, small trees and shrubs of a wood; branches of trees lopped off," mid-14c., from Anglo-French bruce "brushwood," Old North French broche, Old French broce "bush, thicket, undergrowth" (12c., Modern French brosse), from Gallo-Roman *brocia, perhaps from *brucus "heather," or possibly from the same source as brush (n.1).ETD brush (n.2).2

    brush-burn (n.)

    "injury resulting from violent friction," 1862, from brush (v.2) "move briskly" + burn (n.).ETD brush-burn (n.).2

    brushfire (n.)

    also brush-fire, "a blaze in brush or scrub," 1848, from brush (n.2) + fire (n.).ETD brushfire (n.).2

    brushy (adj.)

    1670s, "shaggy;" 1719, "covered with brush," from brush (n.2) + -y (2). Related: Brushiness.ETD brushy (adj.).2

    brushwood (n.)

    1630s, "tree branches cut off;" 1732, "thicket of small trees and shrubs," from brush (n.2) + wood (n.).ETD brushwood (n.).2

    brushwork (n.)

    also brush-work, "manner of working with a brush; work done with a brush," 1849 in reference to painting, from brush (n.1) in the painting sense + work (n.).ETD brushwork (n.).2

    brusque (adj.)

    in older use also brusk, "abrupt in manner, rude," 1650s, from French brusque "lively, fierce," introduced 16c. from Italian adjective brusco "sharp, tart, rough," which is perhaps from Vulgar Latin *bruscum "butcher's broom plant," from Late Latin brucus "heather," from Gaulish *bruko- (compare Breton brug "heath," Old Irish froech). Related: Brusquely; brusqueness.ETD brusque (adj.).2


    capital of old Brabant and modern Belgium, a name of Germanic origin, from brocca "marsh" + sali "room, building," from Latin cella (see cell). It arose 6c. as a fortress on an island in a river. As a type of carpet, from 1799; as a type of lace, from 1748.ETD Brussels.2

    Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea gemmifera) is attested from 1748 (the first written description of them is from 1580s); they have long been associated with Flanders and especially Brussels (compare the French name, choux de Bruxelles).ETD Brussels.3

    brut (adj.)

    1891, of wines, especially champagnes, "dry, unsweetened," from French brut (14c.), literally "raw, crude" (see brute (adj.)).ETD brut (adj.).2

    brutalism (n.)

    1803, "the practice or exercise of brutality," from brutal + -ism. In the arts, 1953 in reference to a style characterized by deliberate crudity and exposed structure. Brutalist is from 1934 in literature.ETD brutalism (n.).2

    brutalize (v.)

    "make coarse, gross, or inhuman, lower to the level of a brute," 1740, from brutal + -ize. Related: Brutalized; brutalizing. An earlier verb was brutify (1660s), from French brutifier. Related: Brutification.ETD brutalize (v.).2

    brutalization (n.)

    "act of brutalizing; state of being brutalized;" 1797, noun of action or state from brutalize.ETD brutalization (n.).2

    brutality (n.)

    1540s, "quality of resembling a brute;" 1630s, "savage cruelty, inhuman behavior, insensibility to pity or shame," from brutal + -ity. The literal sense of "condition or state of a brute" is from 1711.ETD brutality (n.).2

    brutal (adj.)

    mid-15c., "bestial, pertaining to or resembling an animal" (as opposed to a man), from Old French brutal, from Latin brutus (see brute (adj.)). Of persons, "unintelligent, unreasoning" (1510s); "fierce, savage, cruel, inhuman, unfeeling" (1640s). Related: Brutally.ETD brutal (adj.).2

    brutalise (v.)

    chiefly British English spelling of brutalize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Brutalisation; brutalised; brutalising; brutalisation.ETD brutalise (v.).2

    brute (n.)

    1610s, "a beast" (as distinguished from a man), especially one of the higher quadrupeds, from brute (adj.). From 1660s as "a brutal person, a savage in disposition or manners."ETD brute (n.).2

    brute (adj.)

    early 15c., "of or belonging to animals, non-human," from Old French brut "coarse, brutal, raw, crude," from Latin brutus "heavy, dull, stupid, insensible, unreasonable" (source also of Spanish and Italian bruto), said to be an Oscan word, from PIE *gwruto-, suffixed form of root *gwere- (1) "heavy" (see de Vaan).ETD brute (adj.).2

    Before reaching English the meaning expanded to "of the lower animals." Used in English of human beings from 1530s, "wanting in reason, blunt or dull of sentiment, unintelligent." The sense in brute force (1736) is "irrational, purely material."ETD brute (adj.).3

    brutish (adj.)

    1530s, "pertaining to animals," from brute (n.) + -ish. In reference to humans, "uncultured, stupid," from 1550s. Related: Brutishly; brutishness.ETD brutish (adj.).2


    Roman surname of the Junian gens. Its association with betrayal traces to Marcus Junius Brutus (c. 85 B.C.E.-42 B.C.E.), statesman and general and conspirator against Caesar. The Brutus (Englished as Brute) who was the mythological eponymous founder of Britain in medieval legend was said to be a descendant of Aeneas the Trojan.ETD Brutus.2

    bruxism (n.)

    "grinding the teeth unconsciously," 1932, from Greek ebryxa, aorist root of brykein "to gnash the teeth," which is of uncertain origin.ETD bruxism (n.).2

    Bryn Mawr

    town and railroad stop on the Main Line outside Philadelphia, named 1869 by the Pennsylvania Railroad's executives, Welsh, literally "big hill;" it was the name of the estate near Dolgellau, Merionethshire, Wales, that belonged to Rowland Ellis, one of the original Quaker settlers in the region (1686). Before the change the village was known as Humphreysville, after another early Welsh settler. The women's college there was founded in 1885.ETD Bryn Mawr.2


    word-forming element meaning "moss" in scientific compounds, from Greek bryos, bryon "moss."ETD bryo-.2

    bryology (n.)

    1823, "biological science of mosses and their relatives," from bryo- "moss" + -logy. Related: Bryologist (1826); bryological.ETD bryology (n.).2

    bryophyte (n.)

    group of plants comprising mosses and liverworts, 1875, from Modern Latin Bryophyta (1864), from bryo- "moss" + -phyte "plant" (n.).ETD bryophyte (n.).2

    Bryozoa (n.)

    lowest class of mollusks, 1837, from bryo- "moss" + -zoa "animal," from Greek zoia, plural of zoion "animal" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live"). So called from the appearance of some species.ETD Bryozoa (n.).2

    Brythonic (adj.)

    "of the (Celtic) Britons, Welsh," 1884, from Welsh Brython, cognate with English Briton, both from Latin Britto. Introduced into modern English by Welsh Celtic scholar Professor John Rhys (1840-1915) to avoid the confusion of using Briton/British with reference to ancient peoples, religions, and languages.ETD Brythonic (adj.).2

    BS (n.)

    c. 1900, slang abbreviation of bullshit (q.v.).ETD BS (n.).2


    abbreviation of Latin Baccalaureus Scientiae.ETD B.Sc..2

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