- broiler (n.)
- late 14c., "grill or gridiron used in broiling," agent noun from broil (v.1). From c. 1300 as a surname, perhaps meaning "cook who specializes in broiling." Meaning "chicken for broiling" is from 1876.
- broke (adj.)
- past tense and obsolete past participle of break (v.); extension to "insolvent" is first recorded 1716 (broken in this sense is attested from 1590s). Old English cognate broc meant, in addition to "that which breaks," "affliction, misery."
- broken (adj.)
- late 14c., past participle adjective from break (v.). Broken record in reference to someone continually repeating the same thing is from 1944, in reference to scratches on records that cause the needle to jump back and repeat.
When Britain's Minister of State, Selwyn Lloyd[,] became bored with a speech by Russia's Andrei Vishinsky in UN debate, he borrowed a Dizzy Gillespie bebop expression and commented: "Dig that broken record." While most translators pondered the meaning, a man who takes English and puts it into Chinese gave this translation: "Recover the phonograph record which you have discarded." ["Jet," Oct. 15, 1953]
- broken-hearted (adj.)
- also brokenhearted, 1520s, from broken + -hearted. Related: Broken-heartedly; broken-heartedness.
- broker (v.)
- 1630s (implied in brokering), from broker (n.). Related: Brokered.
- broker (n.)
- mid-14c. (mid-13c. in surnames), "commercial agent, factor," also "an agent in sordid business," from Anglo-French brocour "small trader," from abrokur "retailer of wine, tapster;" perhaps from Portuguese alborcar "barter," but more likely from Old French brocheor, from brochier "to broach, tap, pierce (a keg)," from broche "pointed tool" (see broach (n.)), giving original sense of "wine dealer," hence "retailer, middleman, agent." In Middle English, used contemptuously of peddlers and pimps, "one who buys and sells public office" (late 14c. in Anglo-French), "intermediary in love or marriage" (late 14c.).
- brokerage (n.)
- mid-15c., "a broker's trade," from broker (n.) + -age. Also, in 17c., "a pimp's trade."
- brolly (n.)
- British slang, "umbrella," by 1866, a clipped and shortened form of umbrella.
- bromeliad (n.)
- from Modern Latin Bromeliaceæ, family name given by Linnæus, for Olaus Bromel (1639-1705), Swedish botanist. Related: Bromeliads.
- bromide (n.)
- compound of bromine and another metal or radical, 1836, from bromine, the pungent, poisonous element, + -ide. Used as a sedative; figurative sense of "dull, conventional person or trite saying" popularized by U.S. humorist Frank Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) in his book "Are You a Bromide?" (1906). Related: Bromidic.
- bromine (n.)
- nonmetallic element, 1827, from French brome, from Greek bromos "stench." With chemical suffix -ine (2). The evil-smelling dark red liquid was discovered by French chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard (1802-1876), who initially called it muride.
- bronchial (adj.)
- c. 1735, from Late Latin bronchus, from Greek bronkhos "windpipe, throat" (from PIE *gwro-nkh-, from root *gwere- (4) "to swallow;" see voracity) + -al (1). bronchial tubes is from 1847.
- bronchiectasis (n.)
- Modern Latin, from Greek bronkhia "the bronchial tubes" (plural; see bronchial) + ektasis "a stretching out, extension, dilation."
- bronchiole (n.)
- Modern Latin, from diminutive of bronchia "the bronchial tubes" (plural; see bronchial).
- bronchitis (n.)
- coined in Modern Latin 1808 by Charles Bedham, from bronchia "the bronchial tubes" (plural; see bronchial) + -itis "inflammation."
- bronchoscopy (n.)
- from German bronchoskopie (1898), from Latinized comb. form of Greek bronkhia "the bronchial tubes" (plural; see bronchial); also see -scope.
- bronchus (n.)
- 1706 (plural bronchi), from Greek bronkhos "the wind pipe" (see bronchial).
- bronco (n.)
- also broncho, 1850, American English, "untamed or half-tamed horse," from noun use of Spanish bronco (adj.) "rough, rude," originally a noun meaning "a knot in wood," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *bruncus "a knot, projection," apparently from a cross of Latin broccus "projecting" (see broach (n.)) + truncus "trunk of a tree" (see trunk (n.1)). Bronco-buster is attested from 1886.
- brontosaurus (n.)
- 1879, Modern Latin, from Greek bronte "thunder" (perhaps from PIE imitative root *bhrem- "to growl") + -saurus. Brontes was the name of one of the Cyclopes in Greek mythology.
- named for Jonas Bronck, who settled there in 1641.
Jonas Bronck, who arrived at New Amsterdam in 1639, and whose name is perpetuated in Bronx Borough, Bronx Park, Bronxville -- in New York -- was a Scandinavian, in all probability a Dane and originally, as it seems, from Thorshavn, Faroe Islands, where his father was a pastor in the Lutheran Church. Faroe then belonged to Denmark-Norway and had been settled by Norwegians. The official language of the island in Bronck's days was Danish. ... Bronck may have been a Swede if we judge by the name alone for the name of Brunke is well known in Sweden. [John Oluf Evjen, "Scandinavian immigrants in New York, 1630-1674," Minneapolis, 1916]
Bronx cheer first recorded 1929.
- bronze (v.)
- 1640s, literally, 1726 figuratively, from French bronzer (16c.) or else from bronze (n.). Related: Bronzed; bronzing. Meaning "to make to be bronze in color" is from 1792.
- bronze (n.)
- 1721, "alloy of copper and tin," from French bronze, from Italian bronzo, from Medieval Latin bronzium. Perhaps cognate (via notion of color) with Venetian bronza "glowing coals," or German brunst "fire." Perhaps influenced by Latin Brundisium the Italian town of Brindisi (Pliny writes of aes Brundusinum). Perhaps ultimately from Persian birinj "copper."
In Middle English, the distinction between bronze (copper-tin alloy) and brass (copper-zinc alloy) was not clear, and both were called bras. A bronze medal was given to a third-place finisher since at least 1852. The archaeological Bronze Age (1865) falls between the Stone and Iron ages, and is a reference to the principal material for making weapons and ornaments.
- brooch (n.)
- early 13c., from Old French broche "long needle" (see broach (n.)). Specialized meaning led 14c. to distinct spelling.
- brood (v.)
- "sit on eggs, hatch," mid-15c., from brood (n.). The figurative meaning ("to incubate in the mind") is first recorded 1570s, from notion of "nursing" one's anger, resentment, etc. Related: Brooded; brooding.
- brood (n.)
- Old English brod "brood, fetus, hatchling," from Proto-Germanic *brod (source also of Middle Dutch broet, Old High German bruot, German Brut "brood"), literally "that which is hatched by heat," from *bro- "to warm, heat," from PIE *bhre- "burn, heat, incubate," from root *bhreue- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn" (see brew (v.)).
- brooding (n.)
- "action of incubating," c. 1400, verbal noun from brood (v.). Figuratively (of weather, etc.) from 1805; of mental fixations by 1873. Related: Broodingly.
- brooding (adj.)
- 1640s, "hovering, overhanging" (as a mother bird does her nest), from present participle of brood (v.); meaning "that dwells moodily" first attested 1818 (in "Frankenstein").
- broody (adj.)
- 1510s, "apt to breed," from brood (v.) + -y (2). Figuratively, of persons, from 1851. Also, in modern use, sometimes "full of maternal yearning." Related: Broodily; broodiness.
- brook (n.)
- "small stream," Old English broc "flowing stream, torrest," of obscure origin, probably from Proto-Germanic *broka- which yielded words in German (Bruch) and Dutch (broek) that have a sense of "marsh." In Sussex and Kent, it means "water-meadow," and in plural, "low, marshy ground."
- brook (v.)
- "to endure," Old English brucan "use, enjoy, possess; eat; cohabit with," from Proto-Germanic *bruk- "to make use of, enjoy" (source also of Old Saxon brukan, Old Frisian bruka, Old High German bruhhan, German brauchen "to use," Gothic brukjan), from PIE root *bhrug- "to make use of, have enjoyment of" (source also of Latin fructus). Sense of "use" applied to food led to "be able to digest," and by 16c. to "tolerate."
- fem. proper name, rare in U.S. before 1965, popular 1980s, 1990s.
- New York City borough, named for village founded there 1646 and named for Dutch township of Breukelen near Utrecht; from Old High German bruoh "moor, marshland;" spelling of U.S. place name influenced by brook (n.), which probably is distantly related.
- broom (n.)
- Old English brom "broom, brushwood," the common flowering shrub whose twigs were tied together to make a tool for sweeping, from Proto-Germanic *bræmaz "thorny bush" (source also of Dutch braam, German Brombeere "blackberry"), from PIE root *bh(e)rem- "to project, a point."
Traditionally, both the flowers and sweeping with broom twigs were considered unlucky in May (Suffolk, Sussex, Wiltshire, etc.). The witch's flying broomstick originally was one among many such objects (pitchfork, trough, bowl), but the broomstick became fixed as the popular tool of supernatural flight via engravings from a famous Lancashire witch trial of 1612.
- brose (n.)
- 1650s, Scottish, earlier browes, from Old French broez, nominative of broet (13c.) "stew, soup made from meat broth," diminutive of breu, from Medieval Latin brodium, from Old High German brod "broth" (see broth).
- broth (n.)
- Old English broþ, from Proto-Germanic *bruthan (source also of Old High German *brod), from verb root *bhreue- "to heat, boil, bubble; liquid in which something has been boiled" (source also of Old English breowan "to brew;" see brew (v.)). Picked up from Germanic by the Romanic and Celtic languages.
The Irishism broth of a boy, which is in Byron, was "thought to originate from the Irish Broth, passion -- Brotha passionate, spirited ..." [Farmer], and if so is not immediately related.
- brothel (n.)
- "bawdy house," 1590s, shortened from brothel-house, from brothel "prostitute" (late 15c.), earlier "vile, worthless person" of either sex (14c.), from Old English broðen past participle of breoðan "deteriorate, go to ruin," from Proto-Germanic *breuthan "to be broken up," related to *breutan "to break" (see brittle). In 16c. brothel-house was confused with unrelated bordel (see bordello) and the word shifted meaning from a person to a place.
- brother (n.)
- Old English broþor, from Proto-Germanic *brothar (source also of Old Norse broðir, Danish broder, Old Frisian brother, Dutch broeder, German Bruder, Gothic bróþar), from PIE root *bhrater (source also of Sanskrit bhrátár-, Old Persian brata, Greek phratér, Latin frater, Old Irish brathir, Welsh brawd, Lithuanian broterelis, Old Prussian brati, Old Church Slavonic bratru, Czech bratr "brother").
A highly stable word across the Indo-European languages. In the few cases where other words provide the sense, it is where the cognate of brother had been applied widely to "member of a fraternity," or where there was need to distinguish "son of the same mother" and "son of the same father." E.g. Greek adelphos, probably originally an adjective with frater and meaning, specifically, "brother of the womb" or "brother by blood;" and Spanish hermano "brother," from Latin germanus "full brother." As a familiar term of address from one man to another, it is attested from 1912 in U.S. slang; the specific use among blacks is recorded from 1973.
- Brother Jonathan (n.)
- sobriquet for "United States," 1816, often connected with Jonathan Trumbull (1740-1809) of Connecticut, called Brother Jonathan by George Washington, who often sought his advice, somehow in reference to 2 Sam i:26.
- brother-in-law (n.)
- c. 1300; also brother in law; see brother. In Arabic, Urdu, Swahili, etc., brother-in-law, when addressed to a male who is not a brother-in-law, is an extreme insult, with implications of "I slept with your sister."
- brotherhood (n.)
- equivalent of Old English broþerrede "fellowship, brotherhood," with ending as in kindred; in early Middle English the word was brotherhede with ending as in maidenhead. The modern word, with -hood, is from 15c. Originally "relationship of a brother," also "friendly companionship." Concrete sense of "an association, a fraternity" is from mid-14c. in the Middle English word (later also "labor union," 1880s). Old English also had broðorscipe "brothership," broðorsibb "kinship of brothers."
Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Muslims,
And everybody hates the Jews.
[Tom Lehrer, "National Brotherhood Week" lyrics, 1965]
- brotherliness (n.)
- Old English broðorlichnes; see brotherly + -ness.
- brotherly (adj.)
- Old English broðorlic; see brother + -ly (1).
- brougham (n.)
- 1851, one-horse closed carriage with two or four wheels, for two or four persons, from first Lord Brougham (1778-1868). The family name is from a place in Westmoreland.
- past tense and past participle of bring (v.). For explanation of the form development, see thought.
- brouhaha (n.)
- 1890, from French brouhaha (1550s), said by Gamillscheg to have been, in medieval theater, "the cry of the devil disguised as clergy." Perhaps from Hebrew barukh habba' "blessed be the one who comes," used on public occasions (as in Psalm cxviii).
- brow (n.)
- early 14c., browes, brues "brow, forehead, eyebrow," earlier brouwes (c. 1300), bruwen (c. 1200), from Old English bru, probably originally "eyebrow," but extended to "eyelash," then "eyelid" by association of the hair of the eyebrow with the hair of the eyelid, the eyebrows then becoming Old English oferbrua "overbrows" (early Middle English uvere breyhes or briges aboue þe eiges).
The general word for "eyebrow" in Middle English was brew, breowen (c. 1200), from Old English bræw (West Saxon), *brew (Anglian), from Proto-Germanic *bræwi- "blinker, twinkler" (source also of Old Frisian bre, Old Saxon brawa, Middle Dutch brauwe "eyelid," Old High German brawa"eyebrow," Old Norse bra "eyebrow," Gothic brahw "twinkle, blink," in phrase in brahwa augins "in the twinkling of an eye").
Old English bru is from Proto-Germanic *brus- "eyebrow" (source also of Old Norse brun), from PIE *bhru- "eyebrow" (source also of Sanskrit bhrus "eyebrow," Greek ophrys, Old Church Slavonic bruvi, Lithuanian bruvis "brow," Old Irish bru "edge"). The -n- in the Old Norse (brun) and German (braune) forms of the word are from a genitive plural inflection.
Words for "eyelid," "eyelash," and "eyebrow" changed about maddeningly in Old and Middle English (and in all the West Germanic languages). By 1530s, brow had been given an extended sense of "forehead," especially with reference to movements and expressions that showed emotion or attitude.
- browbeat (v.)
- "to bully," originally "to bear down with stern or arrogant looks," 1580s, from brow + beat (v.).
[I]t appears from the earliest quotations ... that the brow in question was that of the beater, not of the beaten party; but it is not evident whether the meaning was 'to beat with one's (frowning) brows,' or 'to beat (?lower) one's brows at.' [OED]
Related: Browbeaten; browbeating.
- brown (v.)
- c. 1300, "to become brown," from brown (adj.). From 1560s as "to make brown." Related: Browned; browning.
- brown (n.)
- "brown color," c. 1600, from brown (adj.).
- brown (adj.)
- Old English brun "dark, dusky," developing a definite color sense only 13c., from Proto-Germanic *brunaz (source also of Old Norse brunn, Danish brun, Old Frisian and Old High German brun, Dutch bruin, German braun), from PIE *bher- (3) "shining, brown" (source also of Lithuanian beras "brown"), related to *bheros "dark animal" (compare beaver, bear (n.), and Greek phrynos "toad," literally "the brown animal").
The Old English word also had a sense of "brightness, shining," preserved only in burnish. The Germanic word was adopted into Romanic (Middle Latin brunus, Italian and Spanish bruno, French brun). Brown Bess, slang name for old British Army flintlock musket, first recorded 1785.