\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

Although appellate judges consider many of the same substantive questions as Supreme Court justices, broad questions of judicial deference, federalism, constitutional law, and civil rights cross district judges’ desk less often. Kevin Cope, Washington Post, "Exactly how conservative are the judges on Trump’s short list for the Supreme Court? Take a look at this one chart.," 7 July 2018 But the definition of modern slavery is much broader than its historical equivalent. The Economist, "Britain’s new law against modern slavery secures a rare conviction," 5 July 2018 So is the broader question of what the Court in Kennedy’s absence will do about gay rights. Andrew Cohen, The New Republic, "Anthony Kennedy Was No Moderate," 27 June 2018 The resolution is broad in its scope, but there isn’t a specific plan in place to meet the goal. Leah Asmelash, charlotteobserver, "Your tires could become shoes with this new project. Here's how.," 27 June 2018 Wilkie argued their definitions of national security and foreign interference were too broad. Rod Mcguirk, The Seattle Times, "Australia to ban covert foreign interference in politics," 26 June 2018 The Democratic field to take on Faso is very broad, as Vox explains: There are a bunch of viable candidates. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "New York House Races Headline June 26 State Primaries," 26 June 2018 The available assortment is not nearly as broad as on Amazon’s site and shoppers can select items from a dedicated Prime Wardrobe area of the site. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Amazon's Try-Before-You-Buy Wardrobe Service Is Ready for Prime Time," 20 June 2018 By not taking up the broader question of when partisan gerrymandering violates the constitution, the justices left the status quo in place, limiting the cases that can be brought in federal court. Oona Goodin-smith,, "Roofers build relationships, Meek Mill goes back to court | Morning Newsletter," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 Katie was tall, five-foot-nine, and broad, too, but somehow still remained lean and muscled. Jessica Knoll, Glamour, "The Governor’s Daughter Has a Big Problem," 20 Mar. 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

12 Oct 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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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