\ 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

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 In brief comments to reporters just before 2 a.m., Suga advised residents not to go outside and to brace for aftershocks. Ben Dooley,, "Powerful quake hits Japan, evoking a worrisome memory," 15 Feb. 2021 Others slumped onto a bus stop bench, burying their heads and hands deep inside puffy winter coats to brace against the frigid temperatures from the ocean, steps away, in Coney Island. New York Times, "An Overnight Refuge for Homeless New Yorkers, Lost to the Pandemic," 8 Feb. 2021 Opting not to meet in the middle, the 203-pound Winfield stopped early to brace for a blow from the 242-pound Smith. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. returns, complements offense," 16 Dec. 2020 To brace for future uncertainties, many companies started cutting costs by laying off staff or reducing salaries. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz India, "What has Modi’s handpicked central bank chief accomplished two years in?," 14 Dec. 2020 Ya-Sin burst to the line and Henry turned away with the ball tucked to his right to brace for the contact. Michael Mccleary, The Indianapolis Star, "Derrick Henry's 178-yard day another gash in the Colts' 45-26 loss to Tennessee," 29 Nov. 2020 The Covid-19 Election New York City Mayor Michael Mulgrew on Friday told parents to brace for another schools shutdown on Monday. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "New York’s Kids Aren’t All Right," 13 Nov. 2020 Trump’s persistent but baseless claims of fraud in mail-in voting led both sides to brace for potential legal challenges well beyond Election Day. Todd Richmond, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Trump, Biden in close race as Wisconsin again in spotlight," 4 Nov. 2020 Security experts say that there are a legitimate concern and reason for cities to brace for brutality. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Not so 'ideological'? Volunteer group warns of planned Antifa election violence, regardless of outcome," 2 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hawthorn, 40, was released Wednesday and will be in a neck brace for at least three months, Rowton said. Dallas News, "Frisco police officer breaks his neck after snow-day tubing accident involving an ATV," 19 Feb. 2021 King returned to the sidelines Tuesday night on crutches with his right leg in a brace. Matt Murschel,, "Miami QB D’Eriq King should be commended not ridiculed for decision to come back | Commentary," 29 Dec. 2020 Fewer jobless workers filed unemployment claims in Maine in the previous week, even as tens of thousands of others in the state brace for the loss of their extended benefits. Christian Wade, Washington Examiner, "Maine's jobless claims edging down," 7 Dec. 2020 After the game, Phillips posted a photograph on Instagram of his right leg in a big brace. Nate Ulrich, USA TODAY, "Cleveland Browns dump kicker Austin Seibert, promote Cody Parkey after Week 1 rout," 15 Sep. 2020 In a brace of papers in Science, Science Advances, Cell, and other journals this week, GTEx researchers roll out the final big analyses of these free, downloadable data, as well as tools for further exploiting the data. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "‘Invaluable’ database helps solve mystery of how genes are regulated," 10 Sep. 2020 Sutton underwent surgery, was in a cast for four weeks, then in a brace for two weeks, and underwent physical therapy for a year. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, "Lime and Bird sued over alleged scooter safety failures and injuries to dozens," 21 Aug. 2020 Remove the clamps and drive two 1 1⁄2-inch screws through the sides into the vertical part of the T-brace. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How To Build a Low Sawhorse for Your Workshop," 23 Jan. 2021 Every January, Minnesota nonprofits brace for a lull in help following the holidays. Kelly Smith, Star Tribune, "In-person volunteering slowly returns in Minnesota after COVID surge," 22 Jan. 2021

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

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brace.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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