\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Arctic is stripped-down and bereft of Hollywood logic; its treatment of the tundra is one of the most austere and bracing ever committed to film, and the challenges Overgård faces are overcome only through sheer force of iron will. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch (and Skip) in Theaters and on Streaming Platforms This Weekend," 22 Nov. 2019 On Thursday, the inquiry seemed to broaden into a bracing examination of the insidious forces - including the spread of conspiracy theories - infecting American politics. Greg Miller, Anchorage Daily News, "A warning that conspiracy theories advance Russia, divide Americans," 22 Nov. 2019 Another surge of blustery cold on this weekend makes outdoor activities a bit bracing. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Not quite as cold today but another surge of Arctic air for the weekend," 14 Nov. 2019 Wade into the brackish, bracing waters that feed them. Chantal Martineau, Bon Appétit, "Beauty and Brine: Prince Edward Island Is an Oyster-Lover’s Paradise," 7 Nov. 2019 The government is braced for attempts to disrupt voting in Catalonia. The Economist, "Spain goes to the polls for the fourth time in four years," 7 Nov. 2019 From crunching through Arctic sea ice on icebreakers to battling through Antarctic storms, from living in a cabin in Alaska to standing at the North Pole, most of my life highlights involve bracing against occasionally mind-numbing chill. Kieran Mulvaney, National Geographic, "‘It’s cool to be cold’: Confessions of frigid-weather fanatics," 7 Nov. 2019 That run continued into this season as they were beaten by Barcelona in Catalonia once more on matchday two, with a Luis Suarez brace helping Barca come back from a goal down to win 2-1., "Borussia Dortmund v Inter: 7 Key Facts & Stats to Impress Your Mates Ahead of Champions League Clash," 5 Nov. 2019 Searching for Black Confederates is a bracing corrective, a slender yet vital volume in the growing library of texts dedicated to dispelling white supremacist talking points. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "The Making of a White Supremacist Myth," 24 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Simon, who hobbled off the field with a bulky brace after the game, figures to miss one week at least but did show some initial improvement after the fourth-quarter injury. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame rover Paul Moala opens eyes with a Penn High School-style scoring play," 17 Nov. 2019 Jilienne Widener sported a brace on her left knee and wasn’t quite herself toward the end of the Owls’ 26-24, 23-25, 25-11, 25-20 loss. Pat Stoetzer,, "Volleyball: Westminster’s unbeaten season comes to end in 3A state semifinal," 14 Nov. 2019 The locks and door handles had been replaced and window braces were installed. Taylor Deville,, "Community donates to fix vandalized Arbutus Santa House," 14 Nov. 2019 Ben Foster produced a string of saves to stop Chelsea taking complete control of the game, including a quick-reaction save with his leg to keep Pulisic from scoring a brace in the 59th minute. oregonlive, "Christian Pulisic’s star continues to soar as the American scores again in Chelsea victory," 2 Nov. 2019 Jake has worked on a ton of shoots including a campaign for the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why and promotional work for braces company Invisalign. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Here Are All the "Lizzie McGuire" Stars' Relationship Statuses IRL," 1 Nov. 2019 The Persian author Mansur ibn Ilyas (c.1380–1422) wrote of resetting fractured or broken bones using braces and tight bandaging to immobilize and realign limbs, followed by the application of various salves and medicaments to help the bones heal. Jack Hartnell, Time, "The Medieval History Behind Our Halloween Fascination With Skeletons," 30 Oct. 2019 The video then shows footage of Hart in the hospital, wearing a heavy back brace and breathing apparatus, being helped out of bed by two nurses. Mike Miller,, "Kevin Hart shares emotional video on car crash recovery: 'My world was forever changed'," 30 Oct. 2019 Midfielder Eduard Atuesta set Vela up for the second goal of a late April brace against Seattle, leading him with a low pass just as Vela began his run between the last two Sounder defenders. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "LAFC star Carlos Vela’s top five goals of 2019," 23 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for brace

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for brace

Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Brace.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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

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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

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very cautious or careful

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