\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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Photo: andrew kelly/Reuters Jittery investors had already braced for trouble. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Cartier Owner Takes Shine Off China’s Luxury Boom," 9 Nov. 2018 Don't miss the pizzas at their Manchester-by-the-Sea location, and enjoy with one of their bracing cocktails—the Manchester 75 (grapefruit liqueur, prosecco, vodka, and St. Germain), perhaps? Leah Bhabha, Vogue, "How to Spend a Fall Weekend on the North Shore of Massachusetts," 15 Oct. 2018 While seasoned entertainers will host ravishing parties with an effortless finesse, the average and aspiring hostess-with-the-mostess will hesitantly take the wheel, and simultaneously brace for impact. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "A Celebrity Event Planner’s Secrets for the Best Holiday Party Ever," 10 Oct. 2018 Movie number two comes out November 16, so brace yourselves for what will undoubtedly change the magical world forever. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "New 'Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald' Trailer Confirms Voldemort’s Snake Nagini Was a Actually a WITCH," 25 Sep. 2018 Residents along the Waccamaw were bracing for water expected to peak Wednesday at 22 feet near Conway. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Florence could trigger 'record' flooding in South Carolina; thousands urged to evacuate," 24 Sep. 2018 The tendency of those bracing for a hurricane to stockpile junk food has been well-documented. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Why some people buy Pop-Tarts and liquor before a hurricane — and some people don’t prepare at all.," 12 Sep. 2018 The trailer begins with shots of Leslie Grossman, Evan Peters, and series newcomer (!) legendary actress Joan Collins (!!!!!!) bracing for the worst in a plane crash. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "The First 'AHS: Apocalypse' Footage Is Finally Here and I'm Shaking," 5 Sep. 2018 Overall, treatment options can include: no treatment, watchful waiting, bracing, and surgery. Dr. Carolyn Kienstra And Dr. Alicia Morrisson, miamiherald, "Scoliosis a common condition that could require medical care," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Milwaukee brace is used to treat spinal curvatures in children by rigid immobilization. Ross Dellenger,, "The Never-Before-Told Story of Kelly Orgeron, Colorful Wife of LSU's Colorful Head Coach," 2 July 2018 Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene was revolutionary when the song, their first single premiered: screaming in your face, loud and bold, mixed race, with braces on her teeth, a prototypical punk feminist. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 6 Recap - 12 Haunting Moments From 'First Blood'," 23 May 2018 Click to Read Story More on Fitness Ms. Banner started mountain biking with a brace before her ankle fully healed. Jen Murphy, WSJ, "For Intense Exercise During Recovery, She Just Added Water," 30 June 2018 With a brace against Tunisia and a hat trick in Sunday’s blitz of Panama, England’s Harry Kane has five World Cup goals in 153 minutes. Kevin Baxter,, "World Cup goals are coming from surprising places, at dramatic times," 24 June 2018 Upon his arrival in Southern California, Woods played a 9-hole round at Big Canyon in Newport Beach with a brace on his leg. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods' last major triumph: An oral history of Tiger's win at the 2008 U.S. Open," 11 June 2018 Hopkins said Chaudhary immobilized the right leg with a brace. Anne Saker,, "Mason man starts with knee replacement, ends up with amputated leg," 9 May 2018 The former Kentucky quarterback walked the grounds at Kroger Field during the Wildcats' spring game with a bulky brace on his left leg. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky football's Stephen Johnson played through pain we didn't know," 13 Apr. 2018 Purdue coach Matt Painter has said Haas is done for the season, but the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported that the Purdue sports medicine has reached out to Purdue mechanical engineering about coming up with a brace that would allow Haas to play. Andrew Mahoney,, "Your guide to the NCAA East Regional at TD Garden," 22 Mar. 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.

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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

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Learn More about brace

Statistics for brace

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brace

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

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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

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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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