General English


  • noun a pair of dead game birds


  • verb to strengthen a construction using cross-members and/or wires
  • verb to take a protective body position in preparation for a crash landing

Cars & Driving

  • noun a part providing support or reinforcement between two or more components


  • A diagonal tie that interconnects scaffold members.
  • A temporary support for aligning vertical concrete formwork.
  • A horizontal or inclined member used to hold sheeting in place.
  • A hand tool with a handle, crank, and chuck used for turning a bit or auger.

Information & Library Science

  • noun either of a pair of symbols, { }, used singly in printing or writing to group items together in a table or list or as a pair in mathematical formulae.

Media Studies

  • noun either of a pair of brackets, { }, used singly to group lines of text together or as a pair in mathematical formulae where parentheses and square brackets have already been used.


  • noun any type of splint or appliance worn for support, e.g. a metal support used on children’s legs to make the bones straight or on teeth which are forming badly


  • verb to prepare yourself for a crash or shock (usually by holding tightly onto something)

Real Estate

  • noun a device that keeps something steady or holds two things together
  • noun a device of varying design and positioning used for holding a structural member in place
  • verb to support or strengthen something, especially part of a building, with a clamping device


  • verb to accost, shake down. A rather old-fashioned underworld term.


  • noun any type of splint or appliance worn for support, e.g. to hold an injured knee

Origin & History of “brace”

English borrowed brace from Old French brace, which meant simply ‘(the length measured by) two arms’. It came from Latin bracchia, the plural of bracchium ‘arm’ (source of French bras ‘arm’, and also of various English technical terms, such as brachiopod (19th c.), a type of shellfish, literally ‘arm-foot’). The word’s ultimate source was Greek brakhíōn ‘arm’, originally ‘upper arm’, which was formed from the comparative of brakhús ‘short’, a relative of English brief (the sense development is probably that the upper arm was named from being ‘shorter’ than the forearm). Of the rather diverse range of meanings the word has in modern English, ‘pair’ derives from the original notion of ‘twoness’, while ‘strengthening or supporting structure’ owes much to the idea of ‘clasping’, mainly contained originally in the verb brace (14th c.), from Old French bracier ‘put one’s arms around’ (a derivative of Old French brace). In English it now only means ‘support, strengthen’, the sense ‘clasp with the arms’ being reserved to embrace (14th c.), from Old French embracer.