General English


  • noun a mark burnt with a hot iron on an animal’s hide, to show ownership


  • (written as Brand)
    A hard cheese made from naturally soured milk mixed with beer
  • noun a well-known make of product, recognisable by its name or by its design


  • noun a carefully-constructed image attached to a company and their products, recognisable by a name or logo


  • (written as Brand)
    A poetic tragedy by Henrik Ibsen, published in 1866and first performed in 1885 in Copenhagen. It was seen in New Yorkin 1910 and in London two years later. Ibsen originally wrote it asa narrative poem but later adapted it for the theater. The work, ableak exploration of the Norwegian character, established Ibsen'sEuropean reputation and earned him a state author's annuity that gavehim financial security.

    The action, which takes place over several years, is set in 19th-century Norway. Brand, a courageous but fanatical pastor, will sacrifice everything, including his family, for his religious ideals. He urges his mother without success to renounce her wealth, and when his child becomes ill refuses to move to warmer climes as this would mean leaving his congregation. When the child dies, Brand accepts this as God's will. His wife Agnes never recovers andin time also dies. Brand builds a new church but finding it insufficient leadshis flock into the mountains to seek a "church without limit."However, the harsh weather induces despair among the brethren, who soonreject his leadership: some even stone him. Brand has a vision of his wife begging him to compromise, but he cannot. He dies in an avalanche caused by a mad gypsy girl, who believes that Brand is Christ.

Origin & History of “brand”

A brand was originally a ‘piece of burning wood’; the word comes from west and north Germanic *brandaz, a derivative of the same base (*bran-, *bren-) as produced burn, brandy, and perhaps broil. In the 16th century it came to be applied to an ‘(identifying) mark made with a hot iron’, which provided the basis for the modern sense ‘particular make of goods’, a 19th-century development. A specialized (now archaic) sense of the word in English and other Germanic languages was ‘sword’ (perhaps from the flashing sword blade’s resemblance to a burning stick). this was borrowed into vulgar Latin as *brando, and its derived verb *brandīre came into English via Old French as brandish (14th c.).

Brand-new (16th c.) may be from the notion of emerging pristine from the furnace.