brace up, Informal. to summon up one's courage; become resolute: She choked back her tears and braced up.

Origin of brace

1300–50; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French: pair of arms < Latin brā(c)chia plural (taken as feminine singular) of brā(c)chium arm (< Greek; see brachium); (v.) in part Middle English bracen (< Anglo-French bracier, derivative of brace; cf. embrace1), in participle derivative of the noun
Related formso·ver·brace, verb (used with object), o·ver·braced, o·ver·brac··brace, verb (used with object), re·braced, re·brac·ing.un·der·brace, nounun·der·brace, verb (used with object), un·der·braced, un·der·brac·ing.well-braced, adjective

Synonyms for brace

1. vise. 4. stay, prop, strut. 10. See pair. 15. support, fortify, prop. 17. tauten, tense. 18. fortify. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brace

Contemporary Examples of brace

Historical Examples of brace

  • Brace your belt, Watkins, man, and swing your shoulders as a free companion should.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • One felt tempted to brace oneself for the rush that was to come.

  • Bill let go the brace, turned as white as a sheet, and exclaimed, "I'm gone!"

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Bring some of that cake you baked to-day, honey—and do brace up!

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • I'll show you whether there's a second brace o' keys or not.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for brace



a hand tool for drilling holes, with a socket to hold the drill at one end and a cranked handle by which the tool can be turnedIn full: hand brace See also brace and bit
something that steadies, binds, or holds up another thing
a structural member, such as a beam or prop, used to stiffen a framework
a sliding loop, usually of leather, attached to the cords of a drum: used to change its tension
a pair; two, esp of game birdsa brace of partridges
either of a pair of characters, { }, used for connecting lines of printing or writing or as a third sign of aggregation in complex mathematical or logical expressions that already contain parentheses and square brackets
Also called: accolade a line or bracket connecting two or more staves of music
(often plural) an appliance of metal bands and wires that can be tightened to maintain steady pressure on the teeth for correcting uneven alignment
med any of various appliances for supporting the trunk, a limb, or teeth
another word for bracer 2
(in square-rigged sailing ships) a rope that controls the movement of a yard and thus the position of a sail
See braces

verb (mainly tr)

to provide, strengthen, or fit with a brace
to steady or prepare (oneself or something) as before an impact
(also intr) to stimulate; freshen; invigoratesea air is bracing
to control the horizontal movement of (the yards of a square-rigged sailing ship)

Word Origin for brace

C14: from Old French: the two arms, from Latin bracchia arms
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

Word Origin and History for brace

early 14c., "piece of armor for the arms," also "thong, strap for fastening," from Old French brace, braz "arms," also "length measured by two arms" (12c., Modern French bras "arm, power;" brasse "fathom, armful, breaststroke"), from Latin bracchia, plural of bracchium "an arm, a forearm," from Greek brakhion "an arm" (see brachio-). Applied to various devices for fastening and tightening on notion of clasping arms. Of dogs, "a couple, a pair" from c.1400.


mid-14c., "to seize, grasp," also "wrap, enshroud; tie up, fetter," from Old French bracier "to embrace," from brace (see brace (n.)). Meaning "to render firm or steady by tensing" is mid-15c., earlier in figurative sense "strengthen or comfort" (someone), early 15c., with later extension to tonics, etc. that "brace" the nerves (cf. bracer "stiff drink"). Related: Braced; bracing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for brace




An orthopedic appliance that supports or holds a movable part of the body in correct position while allowing motion of the part.
Often braces A dental appliance, constructed of bands and wires that is fixed to the teeth to correct irregular alignment.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.