Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun brack·et \ˈbra-kət\

Simple Definition of bracket

  • : an object that is attached to a wall and used to support or hold up something (such as a shelf)

  • : a category that includes a certain range of incomes, ages, etc.

  • : either one of a pair of marks [ ] or 〈 〉 used to enclose words or mathematical symbols

Full Definition of bracket

  1. 1 :  an overhanging member that projects from a structure (as a wall) and is usually designed to support a vertical load or to strengthen an angle

  2. 2 :  a fixture (as for holding a lamp) projecting from a wall or column

  3. 3 a :  one of a pair of marks [ ] used in writing and printing to enclose matter or in mathematics and logic as signs of aggregation —called also square bracket b :  one of the pair of marks < > used to enclose matter —called also angle bracket c :  parenthesis 3 d :  brace 5b

  4. 4 :  a section of a continuously numbered or graded series (as age ranges or income levels)

  5. 5 :  a pairing of opponents in an elimination tournament

Examples of bracket

  1. The shelf is held up with two brackets.

  2. There are wall brackets in the garage for the rakes and shovels.

  3. She is taller than average for her age bracket.

  4. He earned enough to put him in a higher tax bracket.

  5. She is now in a lower income bracket than before.

Origin of bracket

perhaps from Middle French braguette codpiece, from diminutive of brague breeches, from Old Occitan braga, from Latin braca, of Celtic origin — more at breech

First Known Use: 1580

Rhymes with bracket



verb brack·et

Simple Definition of bracket

  • : to place (words, symbols, etc.) within brackets

  • : to be located at each side of (something)

  • : to put (two or more people or things) into the same category, group, etc.

Full Definition of bracket

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to place within or as if within brackets <editorial comments are bracketed> <news stories bracketed by commercials> b :  to eliminate from consideration <bracket off politics> c :  to extend around so as to encompass :  include <test pressures … which bracket virtually the entire range of passenger-car tire pressures — Consumer Reports>

  3. 2 :  to furnish or fasten with brackets

  4. 3 :  to put in the same category or group <bracketed in a tie for third>

  5. 4 a :  to get the range on (a target) by firing over and short b :  to establish the limits of <bracketed the problem neatly> c :  to take photographs of at more than one exposure in order to ensure that the desired exposure is obtained

Examples of bracket

  1. <I wouldn't exactly bracket your paintings with those of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.>

Circa 1847

First Known Use of bracket

circa 1847

BRACKET Defined for Kids



noun brack·et \ˈbra-kət\

Definition of bracket

  1. 1 :  a support for a weight (as a shelf) that is usually attached to a wall

  2. 2 :  one of a pair of marks [ ] (square brackets) used to enclose letters or numbers or in mathematics to enclose items to be treated together

  3. 3 :  one of a pair of marks < > (angle brackets) used to enclose letters or numbers

  4. 4 :  1group 1, category <an age bracket>



verb brack·et

Definition of bracket


  1. 1 :  to place within brackets

  2. 2 :  to put into the same class :  group

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bracket? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds 2.2 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.