- of great breadth: The river was too broad to swim across.
- measured from side to side: The desk was three feet broad.
- of great extent; large: the broad expanse of ocean.
- widely diffused; open; full: We awoke to broad daylight.
- not limited or narrow; of extensive range or scope: A modern doctor must have a broad knowledge of medicine.
- liberal; tolerant: A broad interpretation of the law tempers justice with mercy.
- main or general: the broad outlines of a subject.
- plain or clear: Her remark was a broad hint of her feelings.
- bold; plain-spoken.
- indelicate; indecent: He smirked at the broad joke.
- (of conversation) rough; countrified.
- unconfined; free; unrestrained: It was a hilarious evening of broad mirth.
- (of pronunciation) strongly dialectal: He wore kilts and had a broad Scots accent.
- Phonetics. (of a transcription) using one basic symbol to represent each phoneme.
- broad a, the a-sound [ah] /ɑ/ when used in lieu of the more common a-sound [a] /æ/ in such words as half, can't, and laugh.
- fully: He was broad awake.
- the broad part of anything.
- Usually Offensive.a term used to refer to a woman.
- a promiscuous woman.
- Often broads. Movies, Television. an incandescent or fluorescent lamp used as a general source of light in a studio.
- a gold coin of England and Scotland, issued by James I and Charles I and equal to 20 shillings.Compare carolus, jacobus.
- broad on the beam, Nautical. bearing 90° to the heading of a vessel.
- broad on the bow, Nautical. bearing 45° to the heading of a vessel.
- broad on the quarter, Nautical. bearing 135° to the heading of a vessel.
Origin of broad
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- C(harlie) D(unbar),1887–1971, English philosopher.
Examples from the Web for broad
The Eighty-ninth Congress was potentially more fertile ground for the broad range of controversial programs on his dream agenda.Thank Congress, Not LBJ for Great Society
Julian Zelizer, Scott Porch
January 4, 2015
Our time is so vastly different in its particulars that the parallels work only in broad strokes.American Democracy Under Threat for 250 Years
December 28, 2014
Then, under the bold headline “Rebooting Spider-Man,” Robinov describes a broad vision for the future of the franchise.Exclusive: Sony Hack Reveals Studio's Detailed Plans For Another ‘Spider-Man’ Reboot
December 13, 2014
This could create tremendous opportunity for a broad swath of the rustbelt population.The Rustbelt Roars Back From the Dead
Joel Kotkin, Richey Piiparinen
December 7, 2014
Its reporting and commentary on politics, society, and arts and letters have nurtured a broad liberal spirit in our national life.Facebook Prince Purges The New Republic: Inside the Destruction of a 100-Year-Old Magazine
December 5, 2014
There is a green meadow in the midst, on which rests a broad belt of sunshine.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
In the broad pathways of the ocean such a chance is doubtful.Brave and Bold
Found his camp and a white gum marked with a broad arrow, but no water.Explorations in Australia
As this new era approaches we can already see its broad outlines.
They reached a broad flat, and the stallion gained with terrible insistence.Way of the Lawless
- having relatively great breadth or width
- of vast extent; spaciousa broad plain
- (postpositive) from one side to the otherfour miles broad
- of great scope or potentialthat invention had broad applications
- not detailed; generalbroad plans
- clear and open; full (esp in the phrase broad daylight)
- obvious or plainbroad hints
- liberal; toleranta broad political stance
- widely spread; extensivebroad support
- outspoken or bolda broad manner
- vulgar; coarse; indecenta broad joke
- unrestrained; freebroad laughter
- (of a dialect or pronunciation) consisting of a large number of speech sounds characteristic of a particular geographical areaa broad Yorkshire accent
- finance denoting an assessment of liquidity as including notes and coin in circulation with the public, banks' till money and balances, most private-sector bank deposits, and sterling bank-deposit certificatesbroad money Compare narrow (def. 7)
- of or relating to a type of pronunciation transcription in which symbols correspond approximately to phonemes without taking account of allophonic variations
- broad athe long vowel in English words such as father, half, as represented in the received pronunciation of Southern British English
- as broad as it is long amounting to the same thing; without advantage either way
- the broad part of something
- slang, mainly US and Canadian
- a girl or woman
- a prostitute
- British dialect a river spreading over a lowlandSee also Broads
- East Anglian dialect a shallow lake
- a wood-turning tool used for shaping the insides and bottoms of cylinders
- widely or fullybroad awake
Word Origin and History for broad
Old English brad "broad, flat, open, extended," from Proto-Germanic *braithaz (cf. Old Frisian bred, Old Norse breiðr, Dutch breed, German breit, Gothic brouþs), of unknown origin. Not found outside Germanic languages. No clear distinction in sense from wide. Related: Broadly. Broad-brim as a style of hat (1680s, broad-brimmed) in 18c.-19c. suggested "Quaker male" from their characteristic attire.
"woman," slang, 1911, perhaps suggestive of broad (adj.) hips, but it also might trace to American English abroadwife, word for a woman (often a slave) away from her husband. Earliest use of the slang word suggests immorality or coarse, low-class women. Because of this negative association, and the rise of women's athletics, the track and field broad jump was changed to the long jump c.1967.