\ 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 up brace 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

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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

As of this writing, the East Coast is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, which may hit Florida as a category 4 storm at some point in the next week. Wired, "While You Were Offline: Could a Nuclear Bomb Stop a Hurricane?," 1 Sep. 2019 Puerto Ricans, with fresh memories of the 2017 disaster, have been bracing for what Dorian may look like. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "Tropical Storm Dorian could be a hurricane by Tuesday as it approaches Puerto Rico," 26 Aug. 2019 Reproductive health care providers have been bracing for this for months. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Trump’s Title X Restrictions Are Nothing Short of Coercion," 20 Aug. 2019 Investors had been bracing for worse, however, given the worsening trade relations and slowing global economy. Washington Post, "Flooding, a trade war and Deere cuts outlook again," 16 Aug. 2019 The real estate industry has been bracing for the entrance of tech giants for some time. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Amazon enters the real estate business with Realogy partnership," 23 July 2019 To many non-Conservatives, who believe that Johnson, in particular, is not very interested in realism, Stewart’s candidacy has been bracing and exciting to watch. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "Rory Stewart, the Insurgent Candidate for Prime Minister, Soars Up and Out," 19 June 2019 Harvard chases alumni dollars with a zeal that is bracing to behold. Heather Mac Donald, WSJ, "Who ‘Deserves’ to Go to Harvard?," 13 June 2019 Intelligence officials, cyber experts, and political campaigns have long been bracing for the possibility that these attacks could escalate through November 6. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Kane notched twice in his first Premier League outing this term, scoring a brace as the Lilywhites produced a stirring fightback against Aston Villa on opening day., "Harry Kane's Dreadful Record Against Newcastle United in Abysmal Premier League Defeat," 25 Aug. 2019 Rapinoe scored a brace to lead the U.S. women to a 2-1 win over France on Friday night and into the World Cup semifinals. Editors, USA TODAY, "Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend," 30 June 2019 Ellen White has three of England’s five goals, including a brace in the group-play final. Kevin Baxter,, "Women’s World Cup on TV: Sunday games feature England-Cameroon, France-Brazil," 23 June 2019 Jordan Matthews watched the Eagles win the Super Bowl two years ago while wearing a straight-leg knee brace and a walking boot. Eric Branch,, "49ers receiver Jordan Matthews at peace on roster bubble," 5 Aug. 2019 In their smiling selfie, the muscian is seen wearing a neck brace. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Courteney Cox Cares for Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid Following Spinal Surgery," 1 July 2019 In another sign of his ongoing progress from knee surgery, Texans starting quarterback Deshaun Watson practiced Tuesday during a full-team minicamp without wearing a knee brace. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans QB Deshaun Watson sheds knee brace," 13 June 2018 This is how the NCAA explained the decision not to allow Haas to play wearing that brace. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Isaac Haas' mom: 'Just one more time they let him down'," 18 Mar. 2018 An excellent brace against AFC Wimbledon prompted plenty of praise for the teenager, who has displayed great athleticism and dazzling natural ability on the ball during his pre-season antics., "5 Crystal Palace Youngsters Who Impressed in the Eagles' Pre-Season," 3 Aug. 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.

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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

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Statistics for brace

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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
: 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

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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

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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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