breathy (adj.) Look up breathy at Dictionary.com
1520s, "pertaining to breath," from breath + -y (2). Of voices, "full of breath," from 1883. Related: Breathily; breathiness.
breccia (n.) Look up breccia at Dictionary.com
"rock of angular pieces," 1774, from Italian breccia, "marble of angular pieces," from a Germanic source akin to Old High German brecha "a breaking," from Proto-Germanic *brekan, from PIE root *bhreg- "to break."
bred (adj.) Look up bred at Dictionary.com
from past tense and past participle of breed (v.).
breech (n.) Look up breech at Dictionary.com
"back part of a gun or firearm," 1570s, from singular of breeches (q.v.).
breeches (n.) Look up breeches at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, a double plural, from Old English brec "breeches," which already was plural of broc "garment for the legs and trunk," from Proto-Germanic *brokiz (source also of Old Norse brok, Dutch broek, Danish brog, Old High German bruoh, German Bruch, obsolete since 18c. except in Swiss dialect), perhaps from PIE root *bhreg- "to break." The Proto-Germanic word is a parallel form to Celtic *bracca, source (via Gaulish) of Latin braca (aource of French braies), and some propose that the Germanic word group is borrowed from Gallo-Latin, others that the Celtic was from Germanic.

Expanded sense of "part of the body covered by breeches, posterior" led to senses in childbirthing (1670s) and gunnery ("the part of a firearm behind the bore," 1570s). As the popular word for "trousers" in English, displaced in U.S. c. 1840 by pants. The Breeches Bible (Geneva Bible of 1560) so called on account of rendition of Genesis iii.7 (already in Wyclif) "They sewed figge leaues together, and made themselues breeches."
breed (n.) Look up breed at Dictionary.com
"race, lineage, stock" (originally of animals), 1550s, from breed (v.). Of persons, from 1590s. Meaning "kind, species" is from 1580s.
breed (v.) Look up breed at Dictionary.com
Old English bredan "bring young to birth, carry," also "cherish, keep warm," from West Germanic *brodjan (source also of Old High German bruoten, German brüten "to brood, hatch"), from *brod- "fetus, hatchling," from PIE *bhreue- "burn, heat" (see brood (n.)). Original notion of the word was incubation, warming to hatch. Sense of "grow up, be reared" (in a clan, etc.) is late 14c. Related: Bred; breeding.
breeder (n.) Look up breeder at Dictionary.com
1570s, "one who produces or originates," agent noun from breed (v.). Meaning "one who breeds cattle" or some other animal is recorded from 1530s. Of nuclear reactors, from 1948. As a scornful homosexual term for "heterosexual person," attested from 1986.
breeding (n.) Look up breeding at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "hatching, incubation;" also "formation, development, growth," verbal noun from breed (v.). Meaning "good manners" is from 1590s.
breeze (v.) Look up breeze at Dictionary.com
"move briskly," 1904, from breeze (n.). Related: Breezed; breezing.
breeze (n.) Look up breeze at Dictionary.com
1560s, "north or northeast wind," from Old Spanish briza "cold northeast wind;" in West Indies and Spanish Main, the sense shifting to "northeast trade wind," then "fresh wind from the sea." English sense of "gentle or light wind" is from 1620s. An alternative possibility is that the English word is from East Frisian brisen "to blow fresh and strong." The slang for "something easy" is American English, c. 1928.
breezeway (n.) Look up breezeway at Dictionary.com
1904, American English, from breeze (n.) + way (n.).
breezy (adj.) Look up breezy at Dictionary.com
1718, from breeze (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense "fresh, easygoing, light, airy" is from 1870. Related: Breezily; breeziness.
brekekekex Look up brekekekex at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from Greek (Aristophanes), echoic of the croaking of frogs.
Bremen Look up Bremen at Dictionary.com
city in Germany, from Old Saxon bremo "edge" (related to English brim (n.)), in reference to its site on a river bank.
Bren Look up Bren at Dictionary.com
type of machine gun used by the British army in World War II, 1937, short for Bren gun, coined from first letters of Brno, Czechoslovakia, and Enfield, near London. The patent was purchased in Brno, and the gun was manufactured in Enfield.
Brenner Pass Look up Brenner Pass at Dictionary.com
historical route over the Alps between Germany and Italy, from Breuni, name of a people who lived near there, perhaps Celtic.
brer Look up brer at Dictionary.com
in Brer Rabbit, etc., 1881, Joel Chandler Harris' representation of U.S. Southern black pronunciation of brother.
Brest Look up Brest at Dictionary.com
city in France, from Celtic, from bre "hill." The city in Belarus is from Slavic berest "elm." Part of Lithuania from 1319, it thus was known, for purposes of distinguishing them, as Brest Litovsk until 1921.
brethren (n.) Look up brethren at Dictionary.com
alternative plural of brother (q.v.); predominant c. 1200-1600s, but surviving now only in religious usage.
Breton (n.) Look up Breton at Dictionary.com
"native or language of Brittany," late 14c., from French form of Briton (q.v.).
breve (n.) Look up breve at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., musical notation indicating two whole notes, from Latin breve (adj.) "short" in space or time (see brief (adj.)). The grammatical curved line placed over a vowel to indicate "shortness" (1540s) is from the same source.
brevet (v.) Look up brevet at Dictionary.com
1839, from French breveter, from brevet (see brevet (n.)). Related: Breveted; breveting.
brevet (n.) Look up brevet at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French brievet "letter, note, piece of paper; papal indulgence" (13c.), diminutive of bref "letter, note" (see brief (adj.)). Army sense is from 1680s.
breviary (n.) Look up breviary at Dictionary.com
1540s, "brief statement;" sense of "short prayer book used by Catholic priests" is from 1610s, from Latin breviarium "summary," noun use of neuter of adjective breviarius "abridged," from breviare "to shorten, abbreviate," from brevis "short" (see brief (adj.)).
brevity (n.) Look up brevity at Dictionary.com
c. 1500, from Latin brevitatem (nominative brevitas) "shortness" in space or time, from brevis "short" (see brief (adj.)).
brew (n.) Look up brew at Dictionary.com
c. 1500, "a brewed beverage," from brew (v.).
brew (v.) Look up brew at Dictionary.com
Old English breowan "to brew" (class II strong verb, past tense breaw, past participle browen), from Proto-Germanic *breuwan "to brew" (source also of Old Norse brugga, Old Frisian briuwa, Middle Dutch brouwen, Old High German briuwan, German brauen "to brew"), from PIE root *bhreuə- "to bubble, boil, effervesce" (source also of Sanskrit bhurnih "violent, passionate," Greek phrear "well, spring, cistern," Latin fervere "to boil, foam," Thracian Greek brytos "fermented liquor made from barley," Russian bruja "current," Old Irish bruth "heat;" Old English beorma "yeast;" Old High German brato "roast meat"), the original sense thus being "make a drink by boiling." Related: Brewed; brewing.
brewery (n.) Look up brewery at Dictionary.com
1650s (but perhaps from c. 1200 as a surname element), from brew (v.) + -ery. Old English had breawern in this sense (from aern "house;" see barn), and brewhouse was the more common word through 18c.
brewhouse (n.) Look up brewhouse at Dictionary.com
late 14c.; late 13c. as a surname, from brew (v.) + house (n.).
brewster (n.) Look up brewster at Dictionary.com
early 13c. as a surname, probably originally "a female brewer" (even though most of the early surnames on the records are of men), from brew (v.) + -ster. Compare Old French braceresse "female brewer," Middle English name Clarice le Breweres on the 1312 Colchester Borough Court Rolls.
briar (n.) Look up briar at Dictionary.com
see brier (n.1).
Briareus Look up Briareus at Dictionary.com
hundred-handed giant in Greek mythology, from Greek briaros "strong, stout."
bribe (v.) Look up bribe at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "pilfer, steal," also "practice extortion," from Old French briber "go begging," from bribe (see bribe (n.)). Related: Bribed; bribing.
bribe (n.) Look up bribe at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "thing stolen," from Old French bribe "bit, piece, hunk; morsel of bread given to beggars" (14c., compare Old French bribeor "vagrant, beggar"), from briber, brimber "to beg," a general Romanic word (Gamillscheg marks it as Rotwelsch, i.e. "thieves' jargon"), of uncertain origin; old sources suggest Celtic (compare Breton breva "to break"). Shift of meaning to "gift given to influence corruptly" is by mid-15c.
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," from Proto-Germanic *gumon- (source also of Old Norse gumi, Old High German gomo, from suffixed form of PIE root *dhghem- "earth" (compare 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.