\ ˈbrās \
braced; bracing

Definition of brace 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic : to fasten tightly : bind

2a : to prepare for use by making taut brace a drum

b : prepare, steel brace yourself for the shock

c : invigorate, freshen … I took the shower and it braced me up a bit. —Raymond Chandler

3 nautical : to turn (a sail yard) by means of a brace (see brace entry 2 sense 4b)

4a : to furnish or support with a brace (see brace entry 2 sense 4) heavily braced against the wind

b : to make stronger : reinforce nerves … braced by long familiarity with danger —T. B. Macaulay

5 : to put or plant firmly braces his foot in the stirrup

6 : to waylay especially with demands or questions : confront when braced, Willie had naturally denied his identityTime

intransitive verb

1 : to take heart used with up brace up and do something —Upton Sinclair

2 : to get ready (as for an attack) brace for the storm


plural braces

Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something (such as a clasp) that connects or fastens

2 or plural brace : two of a kind : pair several brace of quail

3 : a crank-shaped instrument for turning a bit (see bit entry 1 sense 1a(2))

4 : 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 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

c braces plural, clothing : suspenders

d medical : an appliance for supporting a body part has braces on his legs a neck brace

e 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

5a : 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

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


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.


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

Relations with Europe are at their lowest ebb in decades as allies brace for another acrimonious encounter with the president who last month harshly criticized them at the Group of Seven economic summit in Canada. Missy Ryan, Greg Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, "At summit, Mattis faces uphill battle," 10 July 2018 Relations with Europe are at their lowest ebb in decades as allies brace for another acrimonious encounter with the president who last month harshly criticized them at the Group of Seven economic summit in Canada. Missy Ryan And Greg Jaffe, Washington Post, "Trump’s combative words on NATO put Mattis in an increasingly tough spot," 9 July 2018 If the two sides start talking openly about war, oil prices could skyrocket as investors brace for continued instability — or far, far worse — in the region that produces much of the world’s oil. Zeeshan Aleem, Vox, "Why you’ll pay more for gas this Memorial Day weekend," 25 May 2018 The Milwaukee Police Department released a video Tuesday highlighting the department's work in the community, as officials brace for the impending release of another video showing a controversial arrest of a Milwaukee Bucks player. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales releases message to community video," 22 May 2018 Fans walk out of the formerly lively pub, which has become a sweaty room with not enough windows, and brace themselves for the hot sun. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "What it's like living through England's devastating World Cup loss at a British pub," 11 July 2018 If that feels like a long time, brace yourself: Variety reports the fifth installment of the saga will miss its July 2020 release date, stuck in the throes of development due to issues with the script. Emma Krupp, RedEye Chicago, "A Chance-Kanye collaboration, Infinity Mirror Room popping up in Chicago, and more conversation starters for your weekend," 6 July 2018 Mars retrograde officially began on June 26 and will end on August 27, so brace yourself for just over two months of this type of energy in your life. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "How Mars Retrograde Will Affect Your Love Life and Career This Summer," 2 July 2018 Last time spared Irma’s full onslaught, (Irma didn’t make landfall) Puerto Rico is now bracing itself for winds of up to 260 Km/h and storm surges of possibly three metres high. Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, Houston Chronicle, "Nightime sky to sparkle on Fourth in southeast communities," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the photograph from 2009, Barlin wears glasses and braces on her teeth. Fox News, "Glamorous Aussie model led vast black market steroid operation," 1 June 2018 For her, a hard workout includes carrying most of her rock climbing gear, plus food and water, in her pack to the climbing area, using two hiking sticks and a leg brace made out of carbon fiber. Laura Schwecherl, SELF, "13 Athletes Share How They Recover After a Tough Workout," 14 July 2018 For the sake of cinema, the cast — ranging from ages 14 to 19 — trotted back to the not-so-distant past, where braces reigned supreme and social currency was the only currency. Rebecca Farley,, "The Stars Of Eighth Grade Relive Their Middle School Horror Stories," 13 July 2018 Diomande secured a brace by barely getting a shot over the line after a scrum in front of the goal following a corner kick. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City falls 4-1 at LAFC, extends MLS losing streak," 9 July 2018 The stun belt and leg braces that Arias wore during trial (as do most murder defendants) violated her constitutional rights and may have prejudiced the jury. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "First look: Jodi Arias' defense attorneys file 342-page brief in conviction appeal," 6 July 2018 The proximate cause this week was a brace of supply outages in Libya and Venezuela, both of which are in upheaval. The Economist, "The American president is stirring up trouble in a volatile oil market," 4 July 2018 Sven’s head pivots by a linkage system connected to the performer’s head and body; the weight of his head is cantilevered away from the performer’s neck by a custom orthopedic back brace. Michael Paulson, New York Times, "The Secret Life of Sven," 26 June 2018 The basketball rim, the backboard and the brace came out of the wall and hit Nolan on the head, Bill Thompson, assistant chief of police in St. Joseph County told the Tribune. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "He hoped to play hoops in the fall. But freak basketball accident kills Indiana teen," 26 June 2018

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 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Phrases Related to brace

brace yourself

curly brace

Statistics for brace

Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brace

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for brace



English Language Learners Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get ready for something difficult or unpleasant ( chiefly US )

: 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 \
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 \

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

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).


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!