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[breyv] /breɪv/
adjective, braver, bravest.
possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.
making a fine appearance.
Archaic. excellent; fine; admirable.
a brave person.
a warrior, especially among North American Indian tribes.
  1. a bully.
  2. a boast or challenge.
verb (used with object), braved, braving.
to meet or face courageously:
to brave misfortunes.
to defy; challenge; dare.
Obsolete. to make splendid.
verb (used without object), braved, braving.
Obsolete. to boast; brag.
Origin of brave
1475-85; < Middle French < Spanish bravo (> Italian) < Vulgar Latin *brabus for Latin barbarus barbarous
Related forms
bravely, adverb
braveness, noun
overbrave, adjective
overbravely, adverb
overbraveness, noun
quasi-brave, adjective
quasi-bravely, adverb
superbrave, adjective
superbravely, adverb
superbraveness, noun
unbrave, adjective
unbravely, adverb
unbraveness, noun
unbraved, adjective
1. bold, intrepid, daring, dauntless, heroic.
1. cowardly.
Synonym Study
1. Brave, courageous, valiant, fearless, gallant refer to confident bearing in the face of difficulties or dangers. Brave is the most comprehensive: it is especially used of that confident fortitude or daring that actively faces and endures anything threatening. Courageous implies a higher or nobler kind of bravery, especially as resulting from an inborn quality of mind or spirit that faces or endures perils or difficulties without fear and even with enthusiasm. Valiant implies a correspondence between an inner courageousness and external deeds, particularly of physical strength or endurance. Fearless implies unflinching spirit and coolness in the face of danger. Gallant implies a chivalrous, impetuous, or dashing bravery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for brave
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Robert shrank from informing him, but he knew it to be his duty, and he was too brave to put it off.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He was bold enough to brave the consequences of this act, which he foresaw clearly.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • All sacredness and sweetness, all that was pure and brave and truthful, seemed to rest in her.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • A pioneer is a brave fellow, with the courage of his own curiosity.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • It is composed of a brave, a free, a virtuous, and an intelligent people.

British Dictionary definitions for brave


  1. having or displaying courage, resolution, or daring; not cowardly or timid
  2. (as collective noun preceded by the): the brave
fine; splendid: a brave sight, a brave attempt
(archaic) excellent or admirable
a warrior of a Native American tribe
an obsolete word for bully1
verb (transitive)
to dare or defy: to brave the odds
to confront with resolution or courage: to brave the storm
(obsolete) to make splendid, esp in dress
Derived Forms
bravely, adverb
braveness, noun
bravery, noun
Word Origin
C15: from French, from Italian bravo courageous, wild, perhaps ultimately from Latin barbarusbarbarous
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 brave

late 15c., from Middle French brave, "splendid, valiant," from Italian bravo "brave, bold," originally "wild, savage," possibly from Medieval Latin bravus "cutthroat, villain," from Latin pravus "crooked, depraved;" a less likely etymology being from Latin barbarus (see barbarous). A Celtic origin (Irish breagh, Cornish bray) also has been suggested.

Old English words for this, some with overtones of "rashness," included modig (now "moody"), beald ("bold"), cene ("keen"), dyrstig ("daring"). Brave new world is from the title of Aldous Huxley's 1932 satirical utopian novel; he lifted the phrase from Shakespeare ("Tempest" v.i.183).


"to face with bravery," 1776, from French braver, from brave (see brave (adj.)). Related: Braved; braving.


"North American Indian warrior," c.1600, from brave (adj.), and cf. bravo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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