\ ˈbrās How to pronounce brace (audio) \
braced; bracing

Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : prepare, steel brace yourself for the shock
b : invigorate, freshen … I took the shower and it braced me up a bit.— Raymond Chandler
c : to prepare for use by making taut brace a drum
2a : to furnish or support with a brace (see brace entry 2 sense 1) heavily braced against the wind
b : to make stronger : reinforce nerves … braced by long familiarity with danger— T. B. Macaulay
3 : to put or plant firmly braces his foot in the stirrup
4 nautical : to turn (a sail yard) by means of a brace (see brace entry 2 sense 1e)
5 : to waylay especially with demands or questions : confront when braced, Willie had naturally denied his identityTime
6 archaic : to fasten tightly : bind

intransitive verb

1 : to get ready (as for an attack) brace for the storm
2 : to take heart used with up brace up and do something— Upton Sinclair


plural braces

Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that transmits, directs, resists, or supports weight or pressure: such as
a : a diagonal piece of structural material that serves to strengthen something (such as a framework) walls held up with braces
b medical : an appliance for supporting a body part has braces on his legs a neck brace
c braces plural, dentistry : an orthodontic appliance usually of metallic wire that is used especially to exert pressure to straighten misaligned teeth had braces as a teenager
d British braces plural, clothing : suspenders
e nautical : a rope rove through a block at the end of a ship's yard (see yard entry 4 sense 3) to swing it horizontally
2a : one of two marks { } used to connect words or items to be considered together
b music : one of these marks connecting two or more musical staffs (see staff entry 1 sense 3) carrying parts to be performed simultaneously
c : bracket sense 3a numbers written in braces
3 or plural brace : two of a kind : pair several brace of quail
4 : something (such as a clasp) that connects or fastens
5 : a crank-shaped instrument for turning a bit (see bit entry 1 sense 1a(2))
6 : a position of rigid attention on review, his uniform and brace were technically correctTime
7 : something that arouses energy or strengthens morale

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Examples of brace in a Sentence

Verb He braced the gate with a piece of wood. Steel columns brace the structure. She braced herself with one hand and reached up with the other. Noun We need to add some sort of brace to hold the shelf in place. He could walk with braces on his legs. She wears a back brace.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Shoppers should also brace for longer than normal delivery times and may need to have several different gift ideas up their sleeves. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 23 Aug. 2021 The Florida Keys and southern Florida should brace for 3 to 5 inches of rain, and Florida's Big Bend and the Panhandle should expect 4 to 8 inches, with isolated places possibly getting more than a foot of rain. NBC News, 13 Aug. 2021 But organizations testing a hybrid set-up should brace for a mess. Rachel Feintzeig, WSJ, 19 July 2021 Campers, too, should brace themselves for what experts said could be the busiest camping season ever, according to data analyzed by the e-commerce company Pattern. New York Times, 28 May 2021 Regulars should brace for an additional sign coming because Sam’s has been nominated for the Legacy Business Registry, a symbol of status and longevity. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2021 The epic fantasy adventure is based on the timeless Arthurian legend, so brace yourself to follow the characters' daring quest through the kingdom. Alicia Vrajlal,, 28 Sep. 2021 Nothing that complicated, but brace yourself, because old car differential oil has the foulest smell in the automotive world. Ben Wojdyla, Popular Mechanics, 20 Sep. 2021 Across the city, Boston families were told to brace for major bus delays, the result of having 40 to 60 unfilled positions for bus drivers and about 96 openings for bus monitors, Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said last week., 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But there is also a sense of unease across the NBA as teams brace for basketball’s next earthquake. Ben Cohen, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2021 The Orlando Pride soccer star, 35, shared a positive update Monday on her Instagram Story, posting a selfie in a neck brace while sitting in what appeared to be a medical room with wife Ali Krieger. Glenn Garner,, 6 Sep. 2021 My son had a big open gash on his head and was in a neck brace. oregonlive, 16 Aug. 2021 As San Antonio health care workers brace for what could be the city’s worst surge of the pandemic yet, that complicates the push to vaccinate hospital staff as quickly as possible. Marina Starleaf Riker,, 13 Dec. 2020 When spring training starts in February, brace for a competitive outfield. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 5 Oct. 2021 Interest payment deadlines this week on several Evergrande bonds and bank loans add another layer of risk as market participants brace for what could be one of China’s largest-ever debt restructurings. Fortune, 20 Sep. 2021 Wyomingites brace for Republican primary colored by Trump. CDC: Effectiveness of Moderna vaccine is staying especially strong. Editors, USA TODAY, 19 Sep. 2021 Cassellius and Janey warned families a week ago to brace for major bus delays spurred by a severe driver shortage., 10 Sep. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 6


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for brace


Middle English, from Anglo-French bracer to embrace, from brace


Middle English, clasp, pair, from Anglo-French, pair of arms, pair, support, from Latin bracchia, plural of bracchium arm, from Greek brachiōn, from comparative of brachys short — more at brief

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Time Traveler for brace

Time Traveler

The first known use of brace was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near brace



brace about

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Statistics for brace

Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brace.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for brace



English Language Learners Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get ready for something difficult or unpleasant
: to give added physical support or strength to (something)
: to support (yourself) by leaning against something or holding something



English Language Learners Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

: a part that adds physical strength or support
: a device that supports a part of the body
: a device that is attached to teeth to make them straight


\ ˈbrās How to pronounce brace (audio) \
braced; bracing

Kids Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make strong, firm, or steady I stood up, bracing my body as well as I could against the wind.— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
2 : to get ready They braced for a storm.



Kids Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that adds strength or support a neck brace
2 braces plural : a usually wire device worn to correct the position of teeth
3 : one of a pair of marks { } used to connect words or items to be considered together
4 : two of a kind a brace of quail
5 : a tool with a U-shaped bend that is used to turn wood-boring bits


\ ˈbrās How to pronounce brace (audio) \

Medical Definition of brace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an appliance that gives support to movable parts (as a joint or a fractured bone), to weak muscles (as in paralysis), or to strained ligaments (as of the lower back)
2 braces plural : an orthodontic appliance usually of metallic wire that is used especially to exert pressure to straighten misaligned teeth and that is not removable by the patient


transitive verb
braced; bracing

Medical Definition of brace (Entry 2 of 2)

: to furnish or support with a brace

More from Merriam-Webster on brace

Nglish: Translation of brace for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brace for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about brace


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