brisk (adj.) Look up brisk at Dictionary.com
1550s, as Scottish bruisk, probably an alteration of French brusque (see brusque). Related: Briskly; briskness.
brisket (n.) Look up brisket at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., brusket, perhaps from Old French bruschet, with identical sense of the English word, or from Old Norse brjosk "gristle, cartilage" (related to brjost "breast") or Danish bryske or Middle High German brusche "lump, swelling;" from PIE *bhreus- "to swell, sprout" (see breast (n.)).
bristle (v.) Look up bristle at Dictionary.com
c. 1200 (implied in past participle adjective bristled) "set or covered with bristles," from bristle (n.). Meaning "become angry or excited" is 1540s, from the way animals show fight. Related: Bristling.
bristle (n.) Look up bristle at Dictionary.com
Old English byrst "bristle," with metathesis of -r-, from Proto-Germanic *bursti- (source also of Middle Dutch borstel, German borste), from PIE *bhrsti- from root *bhars- "point, bristle" (source also of Sanskrit bhrstih "point, spike"). With -el, diminutive suffix.
bristly (adj.) Look up bristly at Dictionary.com
1590s, from bristle (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense is recorded from 1872. Related: Bristliness.
Bristol Look up Bristol at Dictionary.com
City in western England, Middle English Bridgestow, from Old English Brycgstow, literally "assembly place by a bridge" (see bridge (n.) + stow). A local peculiarity of pronunciation adds -l to words ending in vowels. Of a type of pottery, 1776; of a type of glass, 1880. In British slang, "breast," 1961, from Bristol cities, rhyming slang for titties.
Brit (n.) Look up Brit at Dictionary.com
U.S. colloquial shortening of Britisher or Briton, 1901, formerly (in common with Britisher) highly offensive to Englishmen traveling in the States, who regarded it as yet another instance of the "odious vulgarism" of the Americans, but Bret and Bryt were common Old English words for the (Celtic) Britons and survived until c. 1300. In Old French, Bret as an adjective meant "British, Breton; cunning, crafty; simple-minded, stupid."
Britain (n.) Look up Britain at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, Breteyne, from Old French Bretaigne, from Latin Britannia, earlier Brittania, from Brittani "the Britons" (see Briton). The Old English place-name Brytenlond meant "Wales." If there was a Celtic name for the island, it has not been recorded.
Britannic (adj.) Look up Britannic at Dictionary.com
1640s, from Latin Britannicus (see Britain).
britches (n.) Look up britches at Dictionary.com
1905, from britch (1620s), an old variant of breeches.
brite Look up brite at Dictionary.com
variant of bright (adj.). It figures in English phonetic spelling reform from at least the late 19c.; as an advertiser's word it dates from at least 1905 ("Star-brite Metal Polish," made by the Star-Brite Company of Lancaster, Pa., U.S.).
British (adj.) Look up British at Dictionary.com
Old English Bryttisc "of or relating to (ancient) Britons," from Bryttas "natives of ancient Britain" (see Briton). First modern record of British Isles is from 1620s.
Briton (n.) Look up Briton at Dictionary.com
Anglo-French Bretun, from Latin Brittonem (nominative Britto, misspelled Brito in MSS) "a member of the tribe of the Britons," from *Britt-os, the Celtic name of the Celtic inhabitants of Britain and southern Scotland before the 5c. Anglo-Saxon invasion drove them into Wales, Cornwall, and a few other corners. In 4c. B.C.E. Greek they are recorded as Prittanoi, which is said to mean "tattooed people." Exclusively in historical use after Old English period; revived when James I was proclaimed King of Great Britain in 1604, and made official at the union of England and Scotland in 1707.
Brittany (n.) Look up Brittany at Dictionary.com
French Bretagne, named for 5c. Romano-Celtic refugees from the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain who crossed the channel and settled there (see Britain). The Little Britain or Less Britain (lasse brutaine, c. 1300) of old, contrasted with the Great Britain. As a name for girls (with various spellings), almost unknown in U.S. before 1970, then a top-10 name for babies born between 1986 and 1995.
brittle (adj.) Look up brittle at Dictionary.com
late 14c., britel, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English adjective *brytel, related to brytan "to crush, pound, to break to pieces," from Proto-Germanic stem *brutila- "brittle," from *breutan "to break up" (source also of Old Norse brjota "to break," Old High German brodi "fragile"), from PIE *bhreu- "to cut, break up" (see bruise (v.)). With -le, suffix forming adjectives with meaning "liable to."
bro (n.) Look up bro at Dictionary.com
colloquial abbreviation of brother, attested from 1660s.
broach (n.) Look up broach at Dictionary.com
"pointed instrument," c. 1300, from Old French broche (12c.) "spit for roasting, awl, point end, top," from Vulgar Latin *brocca "pointed tool," noun use of fem. of Latin adjective broccus "projecting, pointed" (used especially of teeth), perhaps of Gaulish origin (compare Gaelic brog "awl").
broach (v.) Look up broach at Dictionary.com
"pierce," early 14c., from the same source as broach (n.). Meaning "begin to talk about" is 1570s, a figurative use with suggestions of "broaching" a cask or of spurring into action (compare Old French brochier, 12c., "to spur," also "to penetrate sexually"). Related: Broached broaching.
broad (n.) Look up broad at Dictionary.com
"woman," slang, 1911, perhaps suggestive of broad (adj.) hips, but it also might trace to American English abroadwife, word for a woman (often a slave) away from her husband. Earliest use of the slang word suggests immorality or coarse, low-class women. Because of this negative association, and the rise of women's athletics, the track and field broad jump was changed to the long jump c. 1967.
broad (adj.) Look up broad at Dictionary.com
Old English brad "broad, flat, open, extended," from Proto-Germanic *braithaz (source also of Old Frisian bred, Old Norse breiðr, Dutch breed, German breit, Gothic brouþs), which is of unknown origin. Not found outside Germanic languages. No clear distinction in sense from wide. Related: Broadly. Broad-brim as a style of hat (1680s, broad-brimmed) in 18c.-19c. suggested "Quaker male" from their characteristic attire.
broad-minded (adj.) Look up broad-minded at Dictionary.com
1590s; see broad (adj.) + minded. This abstract mental sense of broad existed in Old English; for example in bradnes "breadth," also "liberality."
broadband (n.) Look up broadband at Dictionary.com
type of high-speed internet access widely available from 2006, from broad (adj.) + band (n.1).
broadcast Look up broadcast at Dictionary.com
1767, adjective, in reference to the spreading of seed, from broad (adj.) + past participle of cast (v.). Figurative use is recorded from 1785. Modern media use began with radio (1922, adjective and noun). As a verb, recorded from 1813 in an agricultural sense, 1829 in a figurative sense, 1921 in reference to radio.
broadcasting (n.) Look up broadcasting at Dictionary.com
1922, verbal noun from broadcast (v.).
broaden (v.) Look up broaden at Dictionary.com
1727, from broad (adj.) + -en (1). The word seems no older than this date (discovered by Johnson in one of James Thomson's "Seasons" poems); broadened also is first found in the same poet, and past participle adjective broadening is recorded from 1850.
broadside (n.) Look up broadside at Dictionary.com
1590s, "side of a ship" (technically, "the side of a ship above the water, between the bow and the quarter"), from broad (adj.) + side (n.); thus "the artillery on one side of a ship all fired off at once" (1590s, with figurative extensions). Two words until late 18c. Of things other than ships, 1630s. But oldest-recorded sense in English is "sheet of paper printed only on one side" (1570s).
broadsword (n.) Look up broadsword at Dictionary.com
Old English brad swurd, from broad (adj.) + sword.
Broadway Look up Broadway at Dictionary.com
common street name, from broad (adj.) + way (n.); the allusive use for "New York theater district" is first recorded 1881.
Brobdingnag Look up Brobdingnag at Dictionary.com
(not *brobdignag), 1727, Swift's name in "Gulliver's Travels" for imaginary country where everything was on a gigantic scale.
brobdingnagian (adj.) Look up brobdingnagian at Dictionary.com
"huge, immense, gigantic," 1728, from Brobdingnag + -ian.
brocade (v.) Look up brocade at Dictionary.com
1650s (implied in brocaded), from brocade (n.). Related: Brocading.
brocade (n.) Look up brocade at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Spanish brocado, from Italian broccato "embossed cloth," originally past participle of broccare "to stud, set with nails," from brocco "small nail," from Latin broccus "projecting, pointed" (see broach (n.)).
broccoli (n.) Look up broccoli at Dictionary.com
1690s, from Italian broccoli, plural of broccolo "a sprout, cabbage sprout," diminutive of brocco "shoot, protruding tooth, small nail" (see brocade (n.)).
broch (n.) Look up broch at Dictionary.com
prehistoric stone tower of the Scottish Highland and isles, 1650s, from Scottish broch, from Old Norse borg "castle," cognate with Old English burh (see borough).
brochure (n.) Look up brochure at Dictionary.com
1748, "pamphlet; short written work stitched together," from French brochure "a stitched work," from brocher "to stitch" (sheets together), from Old French brochier "to prick, jab, pierce," from broche "pointed tool, awl" (see broach (n.)).
brock (n.) Look up brock at Dictionary.com
Old English brocc "badger," a borrowing from Celtic (compare Old Irish brocc, Welsh broch). After c. 1400, often with the adjective stinking, and meaning "a low, dirty fellow."
brogans (n.) Look up brogans at Dictionary.com
type of coarse shoes, 1846, from Irish and Gaelic brogan, diminutive of brog "shoe" (also see brogue).
brogue (n.) Look up brogue at Dictionary.com
type of Celtic accent, 1705, perhaps from the meaning "rough, stout shoe" worn by rural Irish and Scottish highlanders (1580s), via Gaelic or Irish, from Old Irish broce "shoe," thus originally meaning something like "speech of those who call a shoe a brogue." Or perhaps it is from Old Irish barrog "a hold" (on the tongue).
broil (v.1) Look up broil at Dictionary.com
"to cook," late 14c. (earlier "to burn," mid-14c.), from Old French bruller "to broil, roast" (Modern French brûler), earlier brusler "to burn" (11c.), which, with Italian bruciare, is of uncertain and much-disputed origin.

Perhaps from Vulgar Latin *brodum "broth," borrowed from Germanic and ultimately related to brew (v.). Gamillscheg proposes it to be from Latin ustulare "to scorch, singe" (from ustus, past participle of urere "to burn") and altered by influence of Germanic "burn" words beginning in br-. Related: Broiled; broiling.
broil (v.2) Look up broil at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "to quarrel, brawl," also "mix up, present in disorder," from Anglo-French broiller "mix up, confuse," Old French brooillier "to mix, mingle," figuratively "to have sexual intercourse" (13c., Modern French brouiller), perhaps from breu, bro "stock, broth, brew," from Frankish or another Germanic source (compare Old High German brod "broth") akin to broth (see brew (v.)); also compare imbroglio.
broiler (n.) Look up broiler at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up broke at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up broken at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up broken-hearted at Dictionary.com
also brokenhearted, 1520s, from broken + -hearted. Related: Broken-heartedly; broken-heartedness.
broker (v.) Look up broker at Dictionary.com
1630s (implied in brokering), from broker (n.). Related: Brokered.
broker (n.) Look up broker at Dictionary.com
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.) Look up brokerage at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "a broker's trade," from broker (n.) + -age. Also, in 17c., "a pimp's trade."
brolly (n.) Look up brolly at Dictionary.com
British slang, "umbrella," by 1866, a clipped and shortened form of umbrella.
bromeliad (n.) Look up bromeliad at Dictionary.com
from Modern Latin Bromeliaceæ, family name given by Linnæus, for Olaus Bromel (1639-1705), Swedish botanist. Related: Bromeliads.
bromide (n.) Look up bromide at Dictionary.com
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.