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[bruh-zil] /brəˈzɪl/
Origin of brazil
1350-1400; Middle English brasile < Medieval Latin < Italian < Spanish brasil, derivative of brasa live coal (the wood being red in color) < Germanic; see braise


[bruh-zil] /brəˈzɪl/
a republic in South America. 3,286,170 sq. mi. (8,511,180 sq. km).
Capital: Brasília.
Portuguese and Spanish Brasil.
Related forms
[bruh-zil-yuh n] /brəˈzɪl yən/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun
pro-Brazilian, adjective, noun
pseudo-Brazilian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for brazil


Also called brazil wood. the red wood obtained from various tropical leguminous trees of the genus Caesalpinia, such as C. echinata of America: used for cabinetwork
the red or purple dye extracted from any of these woods See also brazilin
short for brazil nut
Word Origin
C14: from Old Spanish brasil, from brasa glowing coals, of Germanic origin; referring to the redness of the wood; see braise


a republic in South America, comprising about half the area and half the population of South America: colonized by the Portuguese from 1500 onwards; became independent in 1822 and a republic in 1889; consists chiefly of the tropical Amazon basin in the north, semiarid scrub in the northeast, and a vast central tableland; an important producer of coffee and minerals, esp iron ore. Official language: Portuguese. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: real. Capital: Brasília. Pop: 201 009 622 (2013 est). Area: 8 511 957 sq km (3 286 470 sq miles)
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 brazil


1550s, from Spanish/Portuguese terra de brasil "red-dye-wood land," from Spanish brasil or Italian brasile, probably connected to French braize (see braize) for resemblance of color to a glowing ember (but Old Italian form verzino suggests a possible connection with Arabic wars "saffron"). Originally the name of a type of wood from an East Indian tree, used in making dye; the name later was transferred to a similar South American species. Brazil in reference to the wood is attested in English from late 14c. Complicating matters is Hy Brasil, a name applied by 1436 to one of the larger Azores Islands, later transferred to a legendary island or rock off the west coast of Ireland (sighted in 1791 at lat. 51° 10', long. 15° 58').

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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brazil in Culture

Brazil definition

Republic in eastern South America. It borders on every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Its capital is Brasilia, and its largest city is São Paulo.

Note: The largest of the Latin-American countries, Brazil occupies almost half of South America.
Note: It is the world's leading coffee exporter.
Note: The only country in South America whose history was dominated by Portugal; it is the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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