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briar1

[brahy-er] /ˈbraɪ ər/
noun
1.
brier1 .
Related forms
briary, adjective

briar2

[brahy-er] /ˈbraɪ ər/
noun
1.
brier2 .

briar3

[brahy-er] /ˈbraɪ ər/
noun, Usually Disparaging.
1.
brier3 .

brier1

or briar

[brahy-er] /ˈbraɪ ər/
noun
1.
a prickly plant or shrub, especially the sweetbrier or a greenbrier.
2.
a tangled mass of prickly plants.
3.
a thorny stem or twig.
Origin of brier1
1000
before 1000; Middle English brer, Old English brǣr, brēr; akin to bramble
Related forms
briery, adjective

brier2

or briar

[brahy-er] /ˈbraɪ ər/
noun
1.
the white heath, Erica arborea, of France and Corsica, the woody root of which is used for making tobacco pipes.
2.
a pipe made of brierroot.
Origin
1865-70; earlier bruyer < French bruyère, Old French < Gallo-Latin *brūcāria field of heather, equivalent to *brūc- heather (< Gaulish, perhaps *broiko- (with early L change of oi > ū) < Celtic *wroiko- > Old Irish froech, Welsh grug) + Latin -āria -ary; compare early Medieval Latin brucus, brugaria; see -er2, -ar2

brier3

or briar

[brahy-er] /ˈbraɪ ər/
noun, Usually Disparaging.
1.
(chiefly in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee) a term used to refer to a rustic or hillbilly, especially one from Appalachia.
Origin
shortening of brier hopper
Usage note
This term is usually used with disparaging intent to refer to those white people who migrated north and west from Southern Appalachia throughout the first half of the 20th century. These migrants, mostly from eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, were looking for jobs in southeastern Ohio and other places. Brier has negative connotations similar to words such as hillbilly and redneck. But brier has also been used as a term of self-reference by the migrants themselves and their descendants. It is a shortened form of brier hopper/brierhopper (also spelled briar hopper/briarhopper), probably a reference to the brier bushes found in Southern Appalachia.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for briar
Historical Examples
  • Hips are preferred; at least, the fruit of the briar is the first of the two to disappear.

    Round About a Great Estate Richard Jefferies
  • He was yellow with fever, and the hand that filled the briar pipe shook with ague.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
  • He followed Sweet briar River on his way to the meeting of the clans.

    The Later Cave-Men Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
  • A briar pipe is made, not from briar, but from the root of heather, Fr.

  • He stared at the bowl of his briar for a moment, then looked up at Cannon.

    Hail to the Chief Gordon Randall Garrett
  • He extracted a tobacco pouch, a briar pipe, and a jet-flame lighter.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Fitzhugh took out his briar and began filling it as he spoke.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • They came to the wood of the briar and rose, There Sidselil craved for a while to repose.

    Child Maidelvold Anonymous
  • The explorer was puffing at his briar luxuriously, and turned to the doctor.

    The Rogue Elephant Elliott Whitney
  • “It certainly is thrilling,” said briar, raising her voice in her excitement.

    Girls of the Forest L. T. Meade
British Dictionary definitions for briar

briar1

/ˈbraɪə/
noun
1.
Also called tree heath. an ericaceous shrub, Erica arborea, of S Europe, having a hard woody root (briarroot)
2.
a tobacco pipe made from the root of this plant
Derived Forms
briary, briery, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from French bruyère heath, from Late Latin brūcus, of Gaulish origin

briar2

/ˈbraɪə/
noun
1.
a variant spelling of brier1

brier1

/ˈbraɪə/
noun
1.
any of various thorny shrubs or other plants, such as the sweetbrier and greenbrier
Derived Forms
briery, briary, adjective
Word Origin
Old English brēr, brǣr, of obscure origin

brier2

/ˈbraɪə/
noun
1.
a variant spelling of briar1
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 briar
n.

see brier (n.1).

brier

n.1

"thorny shrub, heath," 1540s, variant of Middle English brere, from Old English brer (Anglian), brær (West Saxon) "brier, bramble, prickly bush," of unknown origin. Briar is the most recent variant (c.1600). Originally used of prickly, thorny bushes in general, now mostly restricted to wild rose bushes. Used figuratively (in plural) for "troubles" from c.1500.

brier

n.2

type of tobacco pipe introduced to England c.1859 and made from the root of a certain shrub, 1868, from French bruyère "heath plant," from Old French bruiere "heather, briar, heathland, moor" (12c.), from Gallo-Romance *brucaria, from *brucus "heather," from Gaulish (cf. Breton brug "heath," Old Irish froech). Form altered in English by influence of brier (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for briar

briar

noun

A file or hacksaw (1830s+ Underworld)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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7
8
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