bribery (n.) Look up bribery at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "theft, robbery, swindling, pilfering;" see bribe (n.) + -ery. Specifically of magistrates taking money for corrupted services from mid-16c.; sense of "offering of a bribe" is from 1560s.
bric-a-brac (n.) Look up bric-a-brac at Dictionary.com
1840, from obsolete French à bric et à brac (16c.) "at random, any old way," a nonsense phrase.
brick (v.) Look up brick at Dictionary.com
"to wall up with bricks," 1640s, from brick (n.). Related: Bricked; bricking.
brick (n.) Look up brick at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Old French briche "brick," probably from a Germanic source akin to Middle Dutch bricke "a tile," literally "a broken piece," from the verbal root of break (v.). Meaning "a good, honest fellow" is from 1840, probably on notion of squareness (as in fair and square) though most extended senses of brick (and square) applied to persons in English are not meant to be complimentary. Brick wall in the figurative sense of "impenetrable barrier" is from 1886.
brickbat (n.) Look up brickbat at Dictionary.com
mid-16c., piece of brick (half or less) used as a missile, from brick (n.) + bat (n.1) in the sense "a lump, piece." Figurative use, of comments, insults, etc., is from 1640s.
bridal (adj.) Look up bridal at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., transferred use of noun bridal "wedding feast," Old English brydealo "marriage feast," from bryd ealu, literally "bride ale" (see bride + ale); second element later confused with suffix -al (1), especially after c. 1600.
bride (n.) Look up bride at Dictionary.com
Old English bryd "bride, betrothed or newly married woman," from Proto-Germanic *bruthiz "woman being married" (source also of Old Frisian breid, Dutch bruid, Old High German brut, German Braut "bride"). Gothic cognate bruþs, however, meant "daughter-in-law," and the form of the word borrowed from Old High German into Medieval Latin (bruta) and Old French (bruy) had only this sense. In ancient Indo-European custom, the married woman went to live with her husband's family, so the only "newly wed female" in such a household would have been the daughter-in-law. On the same notion, some trace the word itself to the PIE verbal root *bru- "to cook, brew, make broth," as this likely was the daughter-in-law's job.
bridegroom (n.) Look up bridegroom at Dictionary.com
Old English brydguma "suitor," from bryd "bride" (see bride) + guma "man" (source also of Old Norse gumi, Old High German gomo, cognate with Latin homo "man;" see homunculus). Ending altered 16c. by folk etymology after groom (n.) "groom, boy, lad" (q.v.).

Common Germanic compound (compare Old Saxon brudigumo, Old Norse bruðgumi, Old High German brutigomo, German Bräutigam), except in Gothic, which used bruþsfaþs, literally "bride's lord."
bridesmaid (n.) Look up bridesmaid at Dictionary.com
1550s, bridemaid, from bride + maid. The -s- is unetymological but began to appear by 1794 and the form with it predominated by the end of the 19c.
bridewell (n.) Look up bridewell at Dictionary.com
"prison," 1550s, from Bridewell, house of correction in London, originally a royal lodging (given by Edward VI for a hospital, later converted to a prison) near Bride's Well, short for St. Bridget's Well.
bridge (v.) Look up bridge at Dictionary.com
Old English brycgian "to bridge, make a causeway," from bridge (n.). Related: Bridged; bridging.
bridge (n.1) Look up bridge at Dictionary.com
"causeway over a ravine or river," Old English brycge, from Proto-Germanic *brugjo (source also of Old Saxon bruggia, Old Norse bryggja, Old Frisian brigge, Dutch brug, Old High German brucca, German Brücke), from PIE root *bhru "log, beam," hence "wooden causeway" (source also of Gaulish briva "bridge," Old Church Slavonic bruvuno "beam," Serbian brv "footbridge").

The original notion is of a beam or log. Compare Old Church Slavonic mostu, Serbo-Croatian most "bridge," probably originally "beam" and a loanword from Germanic, related to English mast (n.1). For vowel evolution, see bury. Meaning "bony upper part of the nose" is from early 15c.; of stringed instruments from late 14c. The bridge of a ship (by 1854) originally was a "narrow raised platform athwart the ship whence the Captain issues his orders" [Sir Geoffrey Callender, "Sea Passages"].
Bridge in steam-vessels is the connection between the paddle-boxes, from which the officer in charge directs the motion of the vessel. [Smyth, "The Sailor's Word-book," 1867]
bridge (n.2) Look up bridge at Dictionary.com
card game, 1886 (perhaps as early as 1843), an alteration of biritch, but the source and meaning of that are obscure. "Probably of Levantine origin, since some form of the game appears to have been long known in the Near East" [OED]. One guess is that it represents Turkish *bir-üç "one-three," because one hand is exposed and three are concealed. The game also was known early as Russian whist (attested in English from 1839).
Bridget Look up Bridget at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Irish Brighid, fire goddess, from brigh "strength," from Celtic *brig-o-, from PIE *bhrgh-nt- "high, mighty," from root *bhrgh- "high" (see borough).
bridle (v.) Look up bridle at Dictionary.com
"to control, dominate," c. 1200, from Old English bridlian "to fit with a bridle," from bridel (see bridle (n.)). Meaning "to throw up the head" (as a horse does when reined in) is from mid-15c. Related: Bridled; bridling.
bridle (n.) Look up bridle at Dictionary.com
Old English bridel "bridle, rein, curb, restraint," related to bregdan "move quickly," from Proto-Germanic *bregdilaz (see braid (v.)).
Brie (n.) Look up Brie at Dictionary.com
type of soft cheese, 1848, from name of district in department Seine-et-Marne, southeast of Paris, famous for its cheeses. The name is from Gaulish briga "hill, height."
brief (v.) Look up brief at Dictionary.com
"to give instructions or information to," 1866; originally "to instruct by a brief" (1862), from brief (n.). Related: Briefed; briefing.
brief (adj.) Look up brief at Dictionary.com
late 13c., from Latin brevis (adj.) "short, low, little, shallow," from PIE *mregh-wi-, from root *mregh-u- "short" (source also of Greek brakhys "short," Old Church Slavonic bruzeja "shallow places, shoals," Gothic gamaurgjan "to shorten").
brief (n.) Look up brief at Dictionary.com
from Latin breve (genitive brevis), noun derivative of adjective brevis (see brief (adj.)) which came to mean "letter, summary," specifically a letter of the pope (less ample and solemn than a bull), and thus came to mean "letter of authority," which yielded the modern, legal sense of "summary of the facts of a case" (1630s).
briefcase (n.) Look up briefcase at Dictionary.com
"portable folding case for holding papers," 1926, from brief (n.) in the paper sense + case (n.2).
briefing (n.) Look up briefing at Dictionary.com
"fact or situation of giving preliminary instructions," 1910 (but popularized by World War II pre-flight conferences), verbal noun from brief (v.).
briefly (adv.) Look up briefly at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, from brief (adj.) + -ly (2). As an introduction to a statement, "in short," recorded from 1510s.
briefs (n.) Look up briefs at Dictionary.com
"short, tight underwear," 1934, from brief (adj.).
brier (n.1) Look up brier at Dictionary.com
"thorny shrub, heath," 1540s, variant of Middle English brere, from Old English brer (Anglian), brær (West Saxon) "brier, bramble, prickly bush," which is of unknown origin. Briar is the most recent variant (c. 1600). Originally used of prickly, thorny bushes in general, now mostly restricted to wild rose bushes. Used figuratively (in plural) for "troubles" from c. 1500.
brier (n.2) Look up brier at Dictionary.com
type of tobacco pipe introduced to England c. 1859 and made from the root of a certain shrub, 1868, from French bruyère "heath plant," from Old French bruiere "heather, briar, heathland, moor" (12c.), from Gallo-Roman *brucaria, from *brucus "heather," from Gaulish (compare Breton brug "heath," Old Irish froech). Form altered in English by influence of brier (n.1).
brig (n.) Look up brig at Dictionary.com
"two-masted square-rigged vessel," 1720, colloquial shortening of brigantine (q.v.). Apparently such vessels being used for prison ships upon retirement from active duty led to extended meaning "a jail," first recorded 1852.
brigade (n.) Look up brigade at Dictionary.com
"subdivision of an army," 1630s, from French brigade "body of soldiers" (14c.), from Italian brigata "troop, crowd, gang," from brigare "brawl, fight," from briga "strife, quarrel," perhaps of Celtic (compare Gaelic brigh, Welsh bri "power"), from PIE root *gwere- (2) "heavy." Or perhaps from Germanic.
brigadier (n.) Look up brigadier at Dictionary.com
1670s, "officer in command of a brigade," from French brigadier, from brigade (see brigade).
brigand (n.) Look up brigand at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, "lightly armed foot soldier," from Old French brigand (14c.), from Italian brigante "trooper, skirmisher, foot soldier," from brigare "brawl, fight" (see brigade). Sense of "one who lives by pillaging" is from early 15c., reflecting the lack of distinction between professional mercenary armies and armed, organized criminals.
brigantine (n.) Look up brigantine at Dictionary.com
"small two-masted ship," 1520s, from Middle French brigandin (15c.), from Italian brigantino, perhaps "skirmishing vessel, pirate ship," from brigante "skirmisher, pirate, brigand" from brigare "fight" (see brigade).
bright (adj.) Look up bright at Dictionary.com
Old English bryht, by metathesis from beorht "bright; splendid; clear-sounding; beautiful; divine," from Proto-Germanic *berhta- "bright" (source also of Old Saxon berht, Old Norse bjartr, Old High German beraht, Gothic bairhts "bright"), from PIE root *bhereg- "to gleam, white" (source also of Sanskrit bhrajate "shines, glitters," Lithuanian breksta "to dawn," Welsh berth "bright, beautiful"). Meaning "quick-witted" is from 1741.

The Germanic word was commonly used to form given names, and figures in the etymology of Robert, Bertha, Egbert, Gilbert, Herbert, Hubert, Lambert, Albert.
Bright's disease Look up Bright's disease at Dictionary.com
"chronic nephritis," 1831, so called for English physician Richard Bright (1789-1858), who in 1827 first described it.
brighten (v.) Look up brighten at Dictionary.com
Old English *beorhtnian "to make bright" (see bright (adj.) + -en (1)). Intransitive sense, "to become brighter," attested from c. 1300. Figurative use from 1590s. Related: Brightened; brightening.
brightness (n.) Look up brightness at Dictionary.com
Old English beorhtnes "brightness, clearness, splendor, beauty;" see bright + -ness.
brill (n.) Look up brill at Dictionary.com
kind of flat fish, late 15c., of unknown origin.
brilliance (n.) Look up brilliance at Dictionary.com
1755, from brilliant + -ance. Figurative sense (of wit, intelligence, etc.) is from 1779. Distinguished from brilliancy in that the latter usually is applied to things measurable in degrees.
brilliancy (n.) Look up brilliancy at Dictionary.com
1747; see brilliant + -cy. Also compare brilliance.
brilliant (adj.) Look up brilliant at Dictionary.com
1680s, from French brilliant "sparkling, shining" present participle of briller "to shine" (16c.), from Italian brillare "sparkle, whirl," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *berillare "to shine like a beryl," from berillus "beryl, precious stone," from Latin beryllus (see beryl). In reference to diamonds (1680s) it means a flat-topped cut invented 17c. by Venetian cutter Vincenzo Peruzzi.
brim (v.) Look up brim at Dictionary.com
"to fill to the brim," 1610s, from brim (n.). Intransitive sense ("be full to the brim") attested from 1818. Related: Brimmed; brimming.
brim (n.) Look up brim at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, brymme "edge of the sea," of obscure origin, perhaps akin to Old Norse barmr "rim, brim," probably related to German bräme "margin, border, fringe," from PIE *bhrem- "point, spike, edge." (Old English had brim in the sense "sea, surf," but this probably was from the Germanic stem *brem- "to roar, rage.") Extended by 1520s to cups, basins, hats.
brimful (adj.) Look up brimful at Dictionary.com
1520s, from brim (n.) + -ful.
brimming (adj.) Look up brimming at Dictionary.com
"being full to the brim," 1660s, present participle adjective from brim (v.).
brimstone (n.) Look up brimstone at Dictionary.com
Old English brynstan, from brin- stem of brinnen "to burn" (see burn (v.)) + stan (see stone (n.)). In Middle English the first element also recorded as brem-, brom-, brum-, bren-, brin-, bron-, brun-, bern-, born-, burn-, burned-, and burnt-. Formerly "the mineral sulfur," now restricted to biblical usage.
The Lord reynede vpon Sodom and Gomor brenstoon and fier. [Wycliff's rendition (1382) of Genesis xix.24]
The Old Norse cognate compound brennusteinn meant "amber," as does German Bernstein.
brinded (adj.) Look up brinded at Dictionary.com
early 15c., the older form of brindled (q.v.).
brindle (adj.) Look up brindle at Dictionary.com
1670s; see brindled.
brindled (adj.) Look up brindled at Dictionary.com
"marked with streaks, streaked with a dark color," 1670s, from Middle English brended (early 15c.), from bren "brown color" (13c.), noun made from past participle of brennen "burn" (see burn (v.)); the derived adjective perhaps means "marked as though by branding or burning." Form altered perhaps by influence of kindled.
brine (n.) Look up brine at Dictionary.com
Old English bryne "brine," origin unknown; no known cognates beyond Dutch brijn, Flemish brijne.
bring (v.) Look up bring at Dictionary.com
Old English bringan "to bring, bring forth, produce, present, offer" (past tense brohte, past participle broht), from Proto-Germanic *brengan (source also of Old Frisian brenga, Middle Dutch brenghen, Old High German bringan, Gothic briggan); no exact cognates outside Germanic, but it appears to be from PIE *bhrengk-, based on root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."

The tendency to conjugate this as a strong verb on the model of sing, drink, etc., is ancient: Old English also had a rare strong past participle form, brungen, corresponding to modern colloquial brung. To bring down the house figuratively (1754) is to elicit applause so thunderous it collapses the roof.
brink (n.) Look up brink at Dictionary.com
early 13c., from Middle Low German brink "edge," or Danish brink "steepness, shore, bank, grassy edge," from Proto-Germanic *brenkon, probably from PIE *bhreng-, variant of root *bhren- "project, edge" (source also of Lithuanian brinkti "to swell").