\ ˈbrās How to pronounce brace (audio) \
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

Ridgecrest, California — Southern California is bracing for more aftershocks after another powerful earthquake rocked the region, causing the most damage in the city of Ridgecrest. Carter Evans, CBS News, "Southern California bracing for more aftershocks after another powerful earthquake," 6 July 2019 Fans of the Netflix sensation, which released new episodes today, are bracing for more than fun and games at Starcourt Mall. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "'Stranger Things 3' depicts frightful '80s mall culture in Indiana. These people lived it," 4 July 2019 Golden State is bracing for Durant’s decision-making process to linger well into next week. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors free agency: 8 steps the team hopes to take," 29 June 2019 Massport’s staff is bracing for nearly 48 million passengers a year by 2024, a 17 percent increase from last year. Jon Chesto,, "Lisa Wieland will serve as Massport’s new chief executive," 27 June 2019 Europeans are bracing for an intense early-summer heatwave, with record-breaking temperatures forecast in parts of France and Germany before the weekend — less than a year after the region’s last extreme heatwave. Ciara Nugent, Time, "An 'Unprecedented' Early Summer Heatwave Grips Europe as Scientists Warn More Are on the Way," 26 June 2019 Unsurprisingly, Wall Street is bracing for once-booming corporate profits to soften. Matt Egan, CNN, "Bank of America: Investors are the most bearish since 2008 crisis," 18 June 2019 Old Trafford’s bracing for the centrepiece of the ongoing cricket world cup: an India-Pakistan match. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "Quartz’s tip for India-Pakistan match: Rustic desi spirits with dishes from the other side," 16 June 2019 HONG KONG Authorities are bracing for more protests by demonstrators trying to prevent the legislature from pushing through a contentious extradition bill. Washington Post, "10 Things to Know for Today," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

However, Struna and Slovenia experienced more success three days later, when a brace for Atalanta star Josep Ilicic helped them to a 5-0 win against Latvia., "MLS International Roundup: How the Players Fared While on Duty With Their National Team," 3 July 2019 Anchorage fire officials instituted a burn ban Friday as the city, already blanketed in smoke, braces for record or near-record heat. Jeff Parrott, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage bans all outdoor burning and warns of health risks heading into a hot, smoky weekend," 29 June 2019 As Pooser's family braces for the outcome of the surgery, her mother looks forward to making sure her daughter's life is lived to the fullest, no matter how much time remains. Ashley Vaughan, CNN, "This brave teen with Down syndrome is taking to the sky as a flight attendant despite a bleak prognosis," 25 June 2019 Smiles by White has come to Rocky River where Dr. John White provides Invisalign, a clear alternative to traditional braces for straightening teeth. Linda Gandee/special To,, "Dentist looks to bring more smiles to Rocky River," 24 June 2019 As the harrowing fallout continued, Hough tweeted a photo of herself wearing a neck brace after the incident. Vogue, "Paula Abdul Hurled Her Hat at Julianne Hough at the BBMAs: A Harrowing Tale," 2 May 2019 Jai, who has cerebral palsy and wears a brace on his left arm, now has more options. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Kohl's adds adaptive clothing to its three top kids' brands," 6 Sep. 2018 Stanford braces for a Super Regional showdown at Mississippi State., "Oregon State baseball coaching search includes three OSU assistants: Diamonds & Dust," 8 June 2019 Even so, the robust serenity of the original design endures in the methodical curve of the X-braces, rooted and functionally regal all at once. John King,, "A look at why pro basketball and Oracle Arena were a perfect fit," 7 June 2019

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

Statistics for brace

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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
: 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brace

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!