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[brig-uh nd] /ˈbrɪg ənd/
a bandit, especially one of a band of robbers in mountain or forest regions.
Origin of brigand
1350-1400; variant of Middle English briga(u)nt < Middle French brigand < Old Italian brigante companion, member of an armed company, equivalent to brig(are) to treat, deal (with), make war (derivative of briga trouble, strife; of uncertain origin) + -ante -ant
Related forms
brigandage, noun
brigandish, adjective
brigandishly, adverb
outlaw, highwayman, desperado, cutthroat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for brigands
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And we'll sit outside and tell stories, stories of brigands and the sea.

    The Call of the Blood Robert Smythe Hichens
  • So many have happened that the brigands must abandon it henceforth.

  • The chances of a police ship were slight indeed, but the brigands evidently did not know that.

    Brigands of the Moon Ray Cummings
  • The brigands admitted that they knew nothing of these things.

    IT and Other Stories Gouverneur Morris
  • He believed that King had fallen into the hands of brigands and that a heavy ransom would be demanded for his release.

    Truxton King George Barr McCutcheon
  • I recognized him; he was one of the brigands we had seen in the morning.

    An Explorer's Adventures in Tibet A. Henry Savage Landor
  • Several were captured, several got away and went to swell the huge total of brigands.

  • After all, they had two horses and perhaps they had seen the brigands coming and had escaped.

    Across the Mesa Jarvis Hall
British Dictionary definitions for brigands


a bandit or plunderer, esp a member of a gang operating in mountainous areas
Derived Forms
brigandage, brigandry, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Old Italian brigante fighter, from brigare to fight, from briga strife, of Celtic origin
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 brigands



c.1400, "lightly armed foot soldier," from Old French brigand (14c.), from Italian brigante "trooper, skirmisher, foot soldier," from brigare (see brigade). Sense of "one who lives by pillaging" is from early 15c., reflecting the lack of distinction between professional mercenary armies and armed, organized criminals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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