\ ˈbrās How to pronounce brace (audio) \
braced; bracing

Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : prepare, steel brace yourself for the shock
b : invigorate, freshen … I took the shower and it braced me up a bit.— Raymond Chandler
c : to prepare for use by making taut brace a drum
2a : to furnish or support with a brace (see brace entry 2 sense 1) heavily braced against the wind
b : to make stronger : reinforce nerves … braced by long familiarity with danger— T. B. Macaulay
3 : to put or plant firmly braces his foot in the stirrup
4 nautical : to turn (a sail yard) by means of a brace (see brace entry 2 sense 1e)
5 : to waylay especially with demands or questions : confront when braced, Willie had naturally denied his identityTime
6 archaic : to fasten tightly : bind

intransitive verb

1 : to get ready (as for an attack) brace for the storm
2 : to take heart used with upbrace up and do something— Upton Sinclair


plural braces

Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that transmits, directs, resists, or supports weight or pressure: such as
a : a diagonal piece of structural material that serves to strengthen something (such as a framework) walls held up with braces
b medical : an appliance for supporting a body part has braces on his legs a neck brace
c braces plural, dentistry : an orthodontic appliance usually of metallic wire that is used especially to exert pressure to straighten misaligned teeth had braces as a teenager
d braces plural, clothing : suspenders
e nautical : a rope rove through a block at the end of a ship's yard (see yard entry 4 sense 3) to swing it horizontally
2a : one of two marks { } used to connect words or items to be considered together
b music : one of these marks connecting two or more musical staffs (see staff entry 1 sense 3) carrying parts to be performed simultaneously
c : bracket sense 3a numbers written in braces
3 or plural brace : two of a kind : pair several brace of quail
4 : something (such as a clasp) that connects or fastens
5 : a crank-shaped instrument for turning a bit (see bit entry 1 sense 1a(2))
6 : a position of rigid attention on review, his uniform and brace were technically correctTime
7 : something that arouses energy or strengthens morale

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of brace in a Sentence

Verb He braced the gate with a piece of wood. Steel columns brace the structure. She braced herself with one hand and reached up with the other. Noun We need to add some sort of brace to hold the shelf in place. He could walk with braces on his legs. She wears a back brace.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The combined effect of these conditions will be substantial, and companies in the industry will need to brace themselves. Alexandra Wrage, STAT, "Pharma companies need extra anti-corruption vigilance during a pandemic," 2 July 2020 Ohio State has to brace for an extra challenge from former Buckeye assistant and Browns coach Mel Tucker dipping into their turf for Michigan State. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s recruiting rivalry with Alabama is about to get more real: Buckeye Take," 27 June 2020 On Tuesday, Federal health officials told Congress to brace for a second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter of this year. CBS News, "Stocks slide on rising investor concerns about spreading coronavirus," 24 June 2020 Students at the University of Louisville this fall should brace for online finals and wearing masks to class every day, among other changes. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Masks, hybrid classes: What U of L's fall semester will look like amid the coronavirus," 23 June 2020 Dorvil outlines seven things entrepreneurs should do to brace themselves for hard times: 1. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Dallas serial entrepreneur offers advice on understanding and overcoming adversity," 14 June 2020 To brace for that impending loss, owners asked players to take an additional salary restriction. Chandler Rome,, "Q&A: Tracing the path to baseball’s impasse and assessing what’s next," 14 June 2020 Investors should brace for a wave of ominous-sounding liquidity warnings in companies’ financial results. Rochelle Toplensky, WSJ, "Company Liquidity Warnings Have a Silver Lining," 8 June 2020 The Beaumont Wayne campus was designated a reserve COVID-19 hospital last month as the state's largest hospital system braced for a surge. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Beaumont hospital in Wayne to reopen as surge never came," 1 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The high-rise’s most noticeable feature will be the double X-brace columns that will frame the main entrance. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Striking new Uptown Dallas tower will include restaurants and park space," 26 June 2020 The gesture was important to Cynthia Medina, 63, who could speak with no more than a whisper because of recent spinal surgery that necessitated a neck brace. Elizabeth Zavala,, "Car parade in San Antonio for Black Lives Matter collects food for needy on East Side," 21 June 2020 But brace for some more bad news: The May jobs report is expected to show monthly unemployment is at 20% — the highest on record since 1948. Allison Morrow, CNN, "Billionaires are only getting richer (of course), and 4 other business stories you need to read," 4 June 2020 Behold the messiness of mail-in voting—and brace for November. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Pennsylvania’s Mail-In Primary Pains," 8 June 2020 Joshua, who is being lined up for a big money world title unification bout against fellow Briton Tyson Fury, wore a knee brace and was on crutches at the demonstration. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Anthony Joshua and Boris Becker take to the streets in Black Lives Matter protests," 6 June 2020 The handguard can take both M-Lok and Picatinny accessories, the magazine well is flared for easy reloads, the ambidextrous safety is buttery smooth to operate, and the length of the SB Tactical brace can be adjusted in a flash. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "The Ultimate Truck Gun Build (Plus 14 More Guns for Your Pickup)," 5 June 2020 In this weird suburban town, every adult wears braces, couples coordinate outfits and family members become pawns in a competition for acceptance, according to the film’s IMDb page. Audrey Eads, Dallas News, "Not the Oak Cliff Film Festival set for June 4," 28 May 2020 Stanford allowed McDonald, who was wearing a heavy brace on her left leg, to take an open jumper from the top of the key as time expired. Arizona Daily Star, azcentral, "Arizona women's basketball stuns No. 4 Stanford," 28 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brace.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of brace


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 6


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for brace


Middle English, from Anglo-French bracer to embrace, from brace


Middle English, clasp, pair, from Anglo-French, pair of arms, pair, support, from Latin bracchia, plural of bracchium arm, from Greek brachiōn, from comparative of brachys short — more at brief

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brace

Time Traveler for brace

Time Traveler

The first known use of brace was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for brace

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brace.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for brace


How to pronounce brace (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get ready for something difficult or unpleasant
: to give added physical support or strength to (something)
: to support (yourself) by leaning against something or holding something



English Language Learners Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

: a part that adds physical strength or support
: a device that supports a part of the body
: a device that is attached to teeth to make them straight


\ ˈbrās How to pronounce brace (audio) \
braced; bracing

Kids Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make strong, firm, or steady I stood up, bracing my body as well as I could against the wind.— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
2 : to get ready They braced for a storm.



Kids Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that adds strength or support a neck brace
2 braces plural : a usually wire device worn to correct the position of teeth
3 : one of a pair of marks { } used to connect words or items to be considered together
4 : two of a kind a brace of quail
5 : a tool with a U-shaped bend that is used to turn wood-boring bits


\ ˈbrās How to pronounce brace (audio) \

Medical Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an appliance that gives support to movable parts (as a joint or a fractured bone), to weak muscles (as in paralysis), or to strained ligaments (as of the lower back)
2 braces plural : an orthodontic appliance usually of metallic wire that is used especially to exert pressure to straighten misaligned teeth and that is not removable by the patient
braced; bracing

Medical Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

: to furnish or support with a brace

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on brace

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brace

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brace

Spanish Central: Translation of brace

Nglish: Translation of brace for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brace for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about brace

Comments on brace

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!