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[brak-uh n] /ˈbræk ən/
a large fern or brake, especially Pteridium aquilinum.
a cluster or thicket of such ferns; an area overgrown with ferns and shrubs.
Origin of bracken
1275-1325; Middle English braken < Scandinavian; compare Swedish bräken fern, Norwegian brake juniper
Related forms
brackened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bracken
Historical Examples
  • Trevena has written the books of furze and heather and granite and bracken, which outlast time on the hills of Dartmoor.

    By Violence John Trevena
  • And watching the sunlight on the bracken, Gyp thought: 'Love!

    Beyond John Galsworthy
  • If he objects to Harriet Mr. bracken will tell him quite plainly what he thinks.

    Mary Rose of Mifflin Frances R. Sterrett
  • Some of their mouths are grown over with bramble and bracken.

    The Chestermarke Instinct J. S. Fletcher
  • The man in the bracken cast one look at the stars, then crossed himself and crept out into the moonlight.

    The Hill of Venus Nathan Gallizier
  • As she went she heard a voice among the bracken calling softly.

    Tales of Space and Time Herbert George Wells
  • At the village end, I come into a lane, which winds upwards between grassy slopes, to turf and bracken and woods of noble beech.

  • It ceased, and they only heard the fair wind blowing the bracken and the trees.

    A Room With A View E. M. Forster
  • For they were passing a little gully deep in bracken, up which the blast was tearing its tempestuous way.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Freddy dropped the waistcoat at their feet, and dashed into some bracken.

    A Room With A View E. M. Forster
British Dictionary definitions for bracken


Also called brake. any of various large coarse ferns, esp Pteridium aquilinum, having large fronds with spore cases along the undersides and extensive underground stems
a clump of any of these ferns
Word Origin
C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish bräken, Danish bregne
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bracken

"coarse fern," early 14c., a northern England word from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish bregne, Swedish bräken "fern").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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