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[brou] /braʊ/
Anatomy. the ridge over the eye.
the hair growing on that ridge; eyebrow.
the forehead:
He wore his hat low over his brow.
a person's countenance or mien.
the edge of a steep place:
She looked down over the brow of the hill.
Origin of brow
before 1000; Middle English browe, Old English brū; akin to Old Norse brūn, Sanskrit bhrūs
Can be confused
brows, browse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Pericles seated himself near them, with deep sadness on his brow.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • But his head was whirling round, the blood was gushing from his brow, his temple, his mouth.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Her brow cleared at this, and she laughed with satisfaction.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • His face was livid, and great beads of perspiration stood on his brow.

  • He stared in astonishment at Mortimer and Allis, his brow wrinkled in anger.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
British Dictionary definitions for brow


the part of the face from the eyes to the hairline; forehead
short for eyebrow
the expression of the face; countenance: a troubled brow
the top of a mine shaft; pithead
the jutting top of a hill, etc
(Northern English, dialect) a steep slope on a road
Word Origin
Old English brū; related to Old Norse brūn eyebrow, Lithuanian bruvis, Greek ophrus, Sanskrit bhrūs
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 brow

early 14c., browes, brues "brow, forehead, eyebrow," earlier brouwes (c.1300), bruwen (c.1200), from Old English bru, probably originally "eyebrow," but extended to "eyelash," then "eyelid" by association of the hair of the eyebrow with the hair of the eyelid, the eyebrows then becoming Old English oferbrua "overbrows" (early Middle English uvere breyhes or briges aboue þe eiges).

The general word for "eyebrow" in Middle English was brew, breowen (c.1200), from Old English bræw (West Saxon), *brew (Anglian), from Proto-Germanic *bræwi- "blinker, twinkler" (cf. Old Frisian bre, Old Saxon brawa, Middle Dutch brauwe "eyelid," Old High German brawa"eyebrow," Old Norse bra "eyebrow," Gothic brahw "twinkle, blink," in phrase in brahwa augins "in the twinkling of an eye").

Old English bru is from Proto-Germanic *brus- "eyebrow" (cf. Old Norse brun), from PIE *bhru- "eyebrow" (cf. Sanskrit bhrus "eyebrow," Greek ophrys, Old Church Slavonic bruvi, Lithuanian bruvis "brow," Old Irish bru "edge"). The -n- in the Old Norse (brun) and German (braune) forms of the word are from a genitive plural inflection.

Words for "eyelid," "eyelash," and "eyebrow" changed about maddeningly in Old and Middle English (and in all the West Germanic languages). By 1530s, brow had been given an extended sense of "forehead," especially with reference to movements and expressions that showed emotion or attitude.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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brow in Medicine

brow (brou)

  1. The eyebrow.

  2. See forehead.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for brow


Related Terms

highbrow, lowbrow, middlebrow

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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Idioms and Phrases with brow
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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