noun (1)
bri·​ar | \ ˈbrī(-ə)r How to pronounce briar (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of briar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

botany : a plant (such as a rose, blackberry, or greenbrier) having a usually woody and thorny or prickly stem a thicket of briars a briar patch also : a mass or twig of these


noun (2)

Definition of briar (Entry 2 of 2)

: a tobacco pipe made from the root or stem of a European heath (Erica arborea)

Other Words from briar

Noun (1)

briary \ ˈbrī(-​ə)r-​ē How to pronounce briary (audio) \ adjective

First Known Use of briar

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1882, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for briar

Noun (1)

Middle English brere, from Old English brēr

Noun (2)

short for briar pipe, from briar wood of the European heath, from French bruyère heath, from Middle French bruiere, from Vulgar Latin *brucaria, from Late Latin brucus heather, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish froech heather; akin to Greek ereikē heather

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about briar

Time Traveler for briar

Time Traveler

The first known use of briar was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for briar

Cite this Entry

“Briar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for briar


variants: also brier \ ˈbrī-​ər \

Kids Definition of briar

: a plant (as the rose or blackberry) with a thorny or prickly stem

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on briar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with briar

Spanish Central: Translation of briar

Nglish: Translation of briar for Spanish Speakers

Comments on briar

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!