brack·en | \ˈbra-kən \

Definition of bracken 

1 : a large coarse fern especially : a nearly cosmopolitan brake (Pteridium aquilinum) found in most tropical and temperate regions

2 : a growth of brakes

Examples of bracken in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Another curious find from the recent study was traces of bracken, a type of fern, in Ötzi’s stomach. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Before He Died, Ötzi the Iceman Ate a Greasy, Fatty Meal," 13 July 2018 The Iceman’s last meal was balanced with grains from einkorn wheat and traces of a genus of toxic ferns called bracken. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "The ‘Iceman’s’ last meal was a high-fat feast," 12 July 2018 Around them there seemed to be an infinite sampling of vegetation: ferns and clover and scrub and bracken giving way to maples and firs and oaks and hemlocks covered in lichen and moss. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Fungus," 4 June 2017 The forest floor was nearly bare, except for clumps of charcoal and a few short stems of bracken fern and fireweed, a hot pink flower whose seeds often blow in and germinate just after a conflagration. Madeline Ostrander, Smithsonian, "The National Parks Face a Looming Existential Crisis," 14 Sep. 2017 Before the fire, the ground was a carpet of moss, huckleberry bushes, and sword and bracken ferns, and was usually sodden with rain for about nine months of the year or more. Madeline Ostrander, Smithsonian, "The National Parks Face a Looming Existential Crisis," 14 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bracken.' 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 bracken

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bracken

Middle English braken, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Swedish brækne fern

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The first known use of bracken was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of bracken

: a large plant that grows commonly in many places around the world : a large kind of fern


brack·en | \ˈbra-kən \

Kids Definition of bracken

: a large branching fern

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Comments on bracken

What made you want to look up bracken? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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