broad

1 of 3

adjective

broader; broadest
1
a
: having ample extent from side to side or between limits
broad shoulders
… one of the broadest estuaries of any river in America.William Styron
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
4
a
: open, full
a crime committed in broad daylight
b
: plain, obvious
a broad hint
5
linguistics : dialectal especially in pronunciation
a broad northern accent
6
a
: liberal, tolerant
broad views
b
: widely applicable or applied : general
a broad rule
the broader sense of the word
c
: wide in range or amount
This store has a broader selection of items.
a politician with broad [=widespread] appeal
There is broad agreement [=many people agree] that these changes are needed.
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
broadly adverb
He smiled broadly.
broadness noun
the broadness of the law's scope

broad

2 of 3

adverb

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

broad

3 of 3

noun

1
slang, often offensive : woman
2
British : an expansion of a river
often used in plural
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

Adjective 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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The commission's work in bringing Desert X to AlUla is symptomatic of its broader goals – to revitalize the region economically, socially, and culturally, and to forge new paths for sustainable tourism. Shelby Knick, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 The artistic value of the bronzes is indisputable, but what makes San Casciano so important, Mariotti says, is that the objects and the broader site being excavated are exactly as they were left when the site was systematically closed around the turn of the fifth century C.E. Elizabeth Heath, Discover Magazine, 17 Feb. 2024 Russian President Vladimir Putin has commenced a broad cleaning measure this week, starting with sweeping changes in naval leadership as Moscow stares down the start of a third year of its invasion of Ukraine. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 17 Feb. 2024 Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Harris offered a broad defense of the Biden administration's approach to global challenges, especially in leading international support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. Matthew Lee The Associated Press, arkansasonline.com, 17 Feb. 2024 While the job description can seem impossibly broad, and the existing search processes are already extensive, some believe schools could benefit from reimagining who’s actually the best fit to lead a university. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 This evolution reflects the profession’s dynamic nature and the increasing demand for accountants proficient in a broader range of skills, including technology and data analysis. Bryce Welker, Miami Herald, 16 Feb. 2024 There is a broad range of views in the Jewish community as to whether and when critique of Israel veers into antisemitism. Dana Goldstein, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Both Taylors are prolific artists whose work resonates with broad swaths of people through personal stories, sometimes about ex-boyfriends. Jason Zinoman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

Adverb

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

Noun

Middle English brood, noun derivative of brood broad entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near broad

Cite this Entry

“Broad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/broad. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

broad

adjective
ˈbrȯd
1
: not narrow : wide
a broad stripe
2
: extending far and wide : spacious
broad prairies
3
: full entry 1 sense 2c
broad daylight
4
: very clear : obvious
a broad hint
5
: not limited : large in range or amount
a broad choice of subjects
education in its broadest sense
6
: not covering the fine points : general
broad outlines of a problem
7
: pronounced like the a in father
broadly adverb
broadness noun

Geographical Definition

Broad

geographical name

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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