\ˈbrȯd \

Definition of broad 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : having ample extent from side to side or between limits broad shoulders

b : having a specified extension from side to side made the path 10 feet broad

2 : extending far and wide : spacious the broad plains

3 : relating to the main or essential points broad outlines

4a : open, full a crime committed in broad daylight

b : plain, obvious a broad hint

5 linguistics : dialectal especially in pronunciation a broad northern accent

6a : liberal, tolerant broad views

b : widely applicable or applied : general a broad rule

7 of a vowel : open used specifically of a pronounced as in father

8 : marked by lack of restraint, delicacy, or subtlety:

a : coarse, risqué broad humor

b obsolete : outspoken from broad words … Macduff lives in disgrace— Shakespeare



Definition of broad (Entry 2 of 4)

: in a broad (see broad entry 1 sense 4a) manner : fully broad awake



Definition of broad (Entry 3 of 4)

1 slang, often offensive : woman

2 British : an expansion of a river often used in plural


geographical name
\ˈbrȯd \

Definition of Broad (Entry 4 of 4)

1 river 220 miles (354 kilometers) long in North Carolina and South Carolina — see saluda

2 river 70 miles (113 kilometers) long in southern South Carolina flowing into the Atlantic

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Other Words from broad


broadly adverb
broadness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for broad


broad, wide, deep mean having horizontal extent. broad and wide apply to a surface measured or viewed from side to side. a broad avenue wide is more common when units of measurement are mentioned rugs eight feet wide or applied to unfilled space between limits. a wide doorway broad is preferred when full horizontal extent is considered. broad shoulders deep may indicate horizontal extent away from the observer or from a front or peripheral point. a deep cupboard deep woods

Examples of broad in a Sentence


The store has a broad selection of coats. There was broad agreement on the new government. There are three broad categories of industry in the region: computers, finance, and education. the broad outlines of a problem discusses “family” in its broadest sense
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But is this something that exists in a broader, less silly sense? Ashley Carman, The Verge, "The way we text says a lot about our personality," 7 Nov. 2018 Rustic Is An All-Encompassing Term For Many Different Design Styles. The term rustic is pretty broad, but many different design styles can actually fall into it. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Rustic Design," 26 Oct. 2018 But the key question of whether the FCC may preempt any state net neutrality law, no matter how broad, will be decided in a different case pending at the US Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Entire broadband industry sues Vermont to stop state net neutrality law," 19 Oct. 2018 Over the past few years, plus-size retailer Eloquii has tapped brands like Stone Fox Bridal and Reese Witherspoon's Draper James as design collaborators, to introduce their popular styles to a broader, size 14-and-up audience. Ana Colon, Glamour, "Eloquii Is Collaborating With Jason Wu on a Fall 2018 Collection," 24 July 2018 While automobiles have been slowing in recent months, a broader range of consumer products—such as stationary and jewelry—also slowed sharply. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "Global Economy Shows Strain as U.S. Steams Ahead," 14 Nov. 2018 Center the conversation about social equity around housing Social inequity is the product of large-scale political and economic systems that will have to change to make broad sweeping improvements. Diana Budds, Curbed, "3 ways architects can improve social equity," 8 Nov. 2018 Nichols acknowledges that experts span a broad range of professions, from academics to plumbers and auto mechanics. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "First thing we do, let’s kill all the experts," 21 Oct. 2018 There's bourbon, rye, and scotch—and a broad range of flavors, from sweet and smokey, to spicy and smooth. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How to Drink Whiskey: A Complete Guide," 1 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

His announcement Wednesday was broad, aimed at the entire operations of the bureau. Ken Sweet, Houston Chronicle, "Entire operation of federal consumer regulator under review," 17 Jan. 2018 In the end, Judge Buchwald sided with the plaintiffs, issuing a decision that is both narrow enough so as not to declare the entire internet a free speech zone and broad enough to create new protections for all Americans. Issie Lapowsky And Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Trump Can't Block Critics on Twitter. What This Means For You," 23 May 2018 Trump had proposed a broad, all-encompassing Muslim ban during the presidential campaign in 2015, drawing swift rebukes from Republicans as well as Democrats. Mark Sherman, The Seattle Times, "High court OKs Trump’s travel ban, rejects Muslim bias claim," 26 June 2018 The rise in openings in April was broad-based, led by professional and business services, the JOLTS report showed. Sho Chandra,, "U.S. Job Openings Rise to Record, Exceeding Number of Unemployed," 5 June 2018 Orlando attorney Vivien Monaco wrote Osceola County last week saying she was confused by the commission’s broad-ranging discussion about the types of growth, zoning, development and construction rules that could change during a moratorium. Mary Shanklin,, "Osceola leaders move toward development moratorium to weigh new standards," 23 Oct. 2017 Now, under Title I, ISPs are claiming broad, preemptive authority by the FCC. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Montana to FCC: You can’t stop us from protecting net neutrality," 26 Jan. 2018 Productivity growth has not been so broad-based since the economy picked its way from the wreckage of the financial crisis. The Economist, "Britain’s era of abysmal productivity growth could be at an end," 12 Apr. 2018 But the fact that the sell-off is so broad-based, and started around the time global PMIs began peaking, suggests slowing industrial growth is the main culprit. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "What If Global Growth Falters Now?," 6 Apr. 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1659, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for broad


Middle English brood, from Old English brād; akin to Old High German breit broad


Middle English broode, from Old English brāde, adverbial derivative of brād broad entry 1


Middle English brood, noun derivative of brood broad entry 1

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Statistics for broad

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for broad

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

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English Language Learners Definition of broad

: large from one side to the other side

: having a specified width

: including or involving many things or people : wide in range or amount


\ˈbrȯd \
broader; broadest

Kids Definition of broad

1 : not narrow : wide a broad stripe

2 : extending far and wide : spacious broad prairies

3 : complete entry 1 sense 1, full broad daylight

4 : not limited a broad choice of subjects

5 : covering only the main points : general a broad explanation

Other Words from broad

broadly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on broad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with broad

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for broad

Spanish Central: Translation of broad

Nglish: Translation of broad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of broad for Arabic Speakers

Comments on broad

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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