View synonyms for brace


[ breys ]


  1. something that holds parts together or in place, as a clasp or clamp.

    Synonyms: vise

  2. anything that imparts rigidity or steadiness.
  3. Building Trades. a piece of timber, metal, etc., for supporting or positioning another piece or portion of a framework.

    Synonyms: strut, prop, stay

  4. Usually brac·es []. Orthodontics. an appliance made of metal or plastic, worn on the surface of the teeth to straighten them through gradual pressure: The patient needed a brace only on the upper teeth.

    I wore braces for several years.

    The patient needed a brace only on the upper teeth.

  5. Medicine/Medical. an appliance or compression sleeve for supporting a weak joint or joints.
  6. Music. connected staves one below the other, such as for different voices or instruments, or for left and right hand in keyboard music.
  7. brac·es [brey, -siz], Chiefly British. suspenders.
  8. a pair; couple:

    The hunter had a brace of hounds at his side.

  9. Also called bitbrace, bitstock. Machinery. a device for holding and turning a bit for boring or drilling.
  10. Music. leather loops sliding upon the tightening cords of a drum to change their tension and the drum's pitch.
  11. Nautical. (on a square-rigged ship) a rope by which a yard is swung about and secured horizontally.
  12. a protective band covering the wrist or lower part of the arm, especially one worn in archery to protect the bow hand from the snap of the bowstring.
  13. Military. a position of attention with exaggeratedly stiff posture.

verb (used with object)

, braced, brac·ing.
  1. to furnish, fasten, or strengthen with or as if with a brace.

    Synonyms: prop, fortify, support

  2. to fix firmly; make steady; secure against pressure or impact:

    He braces himself when the ship rolls. Brace yourself for some bad news.

  3. to make tight; increase the tension of.

    Synonyms: tense, tauten

  4. to act as a stimulant to.

    Synonyms: fortify

  5. Nautical. to swing or turn around (the yards of a ship) by means of the braces.
  6. Military. to order (a subordinate) to assume and maintain a position of attention with exaggeratedly stiff posture.

verb (used without object)

, braced, brac·ing.
  1. Military. to assume a position of attention with exaggeratedly stiff posture.

verb phrase

  1. Nautical. to brace (the yards of a square-rigged vessel) more nearly athwartships, as for running free.


/ breɪs /


  1. 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 turned In fullhand brace See also brace and bit
  2. something that steadies, binds, or holds up another thing
  3. a structural member, such as a beam or prop, used to stiffen a framework
  4. a sliding loop, usually of leather, attached to the cords of a drum: used to change its tension
  5. a pair; two, esp of game birds

    a brace of partridges

  6. 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
  7. Also calledaccolade a line or bracket connecting two or more staves of music
  8. often plural an appliance of metal bands and wires that can be tightened to maintain steady pressure on the teeth for correcting uneven alignment
  9. med any of various appliances for supporting the trunk, a limb, or teeth
  10. another word for bracer 2
  11. (in square-rigged sailing ships) a rope that controls the movement of a yard and thus the position of a sail
  12. See braces


  1. to provide, strengthen, or fit with a brace
  2. to steady or prepare (oneself or something) as before an impact
  3. also intr to stimulate; freshen; invigorate

    sea air is bracing

  4. to control the horizontal movement of (the yards of a square-rigged sailing ship)

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Other Words From

  • o·ver·brace verb (used with object) overbraced overbracing
  • re·brace verb (used with object) rebraced rebracing
  • un·der·brace noun
  • un·der·brace verb (used with object) underbraced underbracing
  • well-braced adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of brace1

First recorded in 1300–50; (for the noun) Middle English, from Anglo-French, Old French: “pair of arms,” from Latin brā(c)chia plural (taken as feminine singular) of brā(c)chium “arm” (from Greek; brachium ); (for the verb) in part Middle English bracen (from Anglo-French bracier, derivative of brace; embrace 1 ), in part derivative of the noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of brace1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. brace up, Informal. to summon up one's courage; become resolute:

    She choked back her tears and braced up.

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Synonym Study

See pair.

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Example Sentences

He doesn’t have nerve function, which is why he has foot drop and has to wear a brace to help him overcome it.

Called the Elevate, it looks a little like an elaborate knee brace, with an articulating frame and pneumatic air chambers that function like shock absorbers.

It comes with seven tips, including three regular ones, a toothbrush tip, a plaque-seeking tip, one tip for people with braces, and one for those with gum disease.

At one point, I got myself a knee brace and I used to wear that.

From Ozy

The grand experiment that sent knowledge workers home to toil from their bedrooms and living rooms is moving into a new phase, as the world waits for an effective vaccine and braces for expected waves of widespread outbreaks.

From Quartz

“We got here hours ago,” says a man with a foot brace who's given up his spot in the amorphous line to sit on a folding chair.

In all likelihood, Democrats should brace for an ugly election night.

So, I conveyed this to Tom and we invited Tom over to our house for dinner and said, “Brace yourself.”

At that point, Australians—not to mention environmentalists and tourists—better brace themselves.

Kimye Heads Back to Vogue: Brace yourselves for the aftershock.

Edwin had to brace himself again, for an assault upon the fastness of the stationmaster.

It was the only thing I needed to snap my last tie with England and brace me for the struggle in America.

So he waved him gracefully to the table, where a brace of flagons stood amid the steaming viands.

At first they mounted them upon a wooden frame and rested one end on the shoulder for a brace.

The House was relieved to hear from Mr. Brace that there was no immediate danger of this contingency.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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