1 of 2


: a rope fastened to the leech of a sail and used for hauling the sail up or in
: a dip net with which fish are hauled aboard a boat from a purse seine or trap


2 of 2


brailed; brailing; brails

transitive verb

: to take in (a sail) by the brails
: to hoist (fish) by means of a brail

Examples of brail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Some of the traps had watchmen, and the fishermen would cover the front of their boats with black tarps and sneak up to the watchmen’s sheds and hammer the doors shut and then brail the fish out of the nets and sell the fish back to the canneries. Idaho Statesman, 2 Mar. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English brayle, from Anglo-French braiel belt, strap, brail, alteration of Old French braiuel belt, probably ultimately from Latin braca pants — more at breech

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of brail was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near brail

Cite this Entry

“Brail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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