bril·​le ˈbri-lə How to pronounce brille (audio)
plural brilles
: a transparent, disc-shaped, immobile scale that covers the eye of most snakes and geckos
Like snakes, geckos can't close their eyes, which are protected by a transparent scale, or brille (from the German for spectacles) that is regularly shed and replaced along with the skin.Richard Milner, Natural History, November 2000

Word History


borrowed from German Brille, literally, "spectacle, eyeglass," going back to Middle High German berille, barille (masculine singular) "beryl, rock crystal," (used in reliquaries, monstrances, etc., to magnify objects), borrowed from Latin bēryllus beryl

First Known Use

1903, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brille was in 1903

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Cite this Entry

“Brille.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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