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noun (1)

variants or less commonly britt
: minute marine animals (such as crustaceans and pteropods) on which right whales feed


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noun (2)


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Word History


Noun (1)

of obscure origin

Note: The word was applied earlier to the fry of herring and sprat. The attribution to Cornish brȳthel "mackerel" in Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (1961) and American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition (2020) is improbable on both phonetic and semantic grounds. R. Morton Nance (A Glossary of Cornish Sea-Words, Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, 1963) notes that the word was initially peculiar to Cornwall and north Devon, but seemingly not of Celtic origin.

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1851, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1884, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brit was in 1851

Dictionary Entries Near brit

Cite this Entry

“Brit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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