General English

  • noun a piece of women’s underwear worn to support the breasts


  • noun
    (written as BRA)
    a basic ISDN service that provides two data channels capable of carrying data at a rate of 64Kbps together with a signalling channel used to carry control signals at 16Kbps.
  • acronym forbasic rate access
    (written as BRA)


  • A soft or hard cows’ milk cheese from Piedmont, cast in wheel shapes (6 to 8 kg). The cheese is moulded, pressed, salted and ripened 45 days for the soft version or 6 months for the hard version. The paste is pale cream changing to a dense yellow with minute holes as it ages.


  • noun best friend. The word has been popular among younger speakers since the late 1990s. Bessie is a synonym.

Origin & History of “bra”

The word bra made its first appearance in English in the mid 1930s. It is of course an abbreviation of brassiere (an early alternative abbreviated form was bras), which was borrowed from French around 1910. The French term originated in the 17th century, when it meant simply ‘bodice’; it appears to have been an alteration of an earlier, Old French braciere ‘piece of armour for the arm or wrist’ (borrowed into English as bracer in the 14th century), a derivative of bras ‘arm’.