a series of brackets.
framework for supporting a cove, cornice, plaster ceiling ornament, etc.

Origin of bracketing

First recorded in 1815–25; bracket + -ing1




a support, as of metal or wood, projecting from a wall or the like to hold or bear the weight of a shelf, part of a cornice, etc.
a shelf or shelves so supported.
Also called square bracket. one of two marks [ or ] used in writing or printing to enclose parenthetical matter, interpolations, etc.
  1. brackets,parentheses of various forms indicating that the enclosed quantity is to be treated as a unit.
  2. (loosely) vinculum(def 2).
  3. expression or formula between a pair of brackets.
a grouping of people based on the amount of their income: the low-income bracket.
a class; grouping; classification: She travels in a different social bracket.
  1. any horizontally projecting support for an overhanging weight, as a corbel, cantilever, or console.
  2. any of a series of fancifully shaped false consoles beneath an ornamental cornice.
(on a staircase) an ornamental piece filling the angle between a riser and its tread.
  1. a flat plate, usually triangular with a flange on one edge, used to unite and reinforce the junction between two flat members or surfaces meeting at an angle.
  2. any member for reinforcing the angle between two members or surfaces.
a projecting fixture for gas or electricity.
Gunnery. range or elevation producing both shorts and overs on a target.

verb (used with object)

to furnish with or support by a bracket or brackets.
to place within brackets; couple with a brace.
to associate, mention, or class together: Gossip columnists often bracket them together, so a wedding may be imminent.
Gunnery. to place (shots) both beyond and short of a target.
Photography. to take (additional shots) at exposure levels above and below the estimated correct exposure.

Origin of bracket

1570–80; earlier also brag(g)et (in architecture); of obscure origin
Related formsun·brack·et·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bracketing

Historical Examples of bracketing

  • This bracketing of Hildas injury with hers stank in Katherines nostrils.

    The Dull Miss Archinard

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • Friedlaender, in bracketing Cumis, has not taken this sufficiently into consideration.

    The Satyricon, Complete

    Petronius Arbiter

  • This gallery is sometimes supported upon a deep system of bracketing, corbelled out from the feet of the main pillars.

  • The process is very like what artillery men tell of "bracketing" the object fired at, and then landing fairly on it.

  • McGillicuddy had a way of bracketing the Deity with commanding officers, and did it with much simplicity and meant no irreverence.

    Betty at Fort Blizzard

    Molly Elliot Seawell

British Dictionary definitions for bracketing



a set of brackets
photog a technique in which a series of test pictures are taken at different exposure levels in order to obtain the optimum exposure



an L-shaped or other support fixed to a wall to hold a shelf, etc
one or more wall shelves carried on brackets
architect a support projecting from the side of a wall or other structureSee also corbel, ancon, console 2
Also called: square bracket either of a pair of characters, [ ], used to enclose a section of writing or printing to separate it from the main text
a group or category falling within or between certain defined limitsthe lower income bracket
the distance between two preliminary shots of artillery fire in range-finding
a skating figure consisting of two arcs meeting at a point, tracing the shape ⋎

verb -kets, -keting or -keted (tr)

to fix or support by means of a bracket or brackets
to put (written or printed matter) in brackets, esp as being irrelevant, spurious, or bearing a separate relationship of some kind to the rest of the text
to couple or join (two lines of text, etc) with a brace
(often foll by with) to group or class togetherto bracket Marx with the philosophers
to adjust (artillery fire) until the target is hit

Word Origin for bracket

C16: from Old French braguette codpiece, diminutive of bragues breeches, from Old Provençal braga, from Latin brāca breeches
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 bracketing



1570s, bragget, "architectural support," probably from Middle French braguette "codpiece armor" (16c.), from a fancied resemblance of architectural supports to that article of attire (Spanish cognate bragueta meant both "codpiece" and "bracket"), diminutive of brague "knee pants," ultimately from Gaulish *braca "pants," itself perhaps from Germanic (cf. Old English broc "garment for the legs and trunk;" see breeches). The sense might reflect the "breeches" sense, on the notion of two limbs or of appliances used in pairs. The typographical bracket is first recorded 1750, so called for its resemblance to double supports in carpentry (a sense attested from 1610s). Senses affected by Latin brachium "arm."



1797, of printed matter, "to enclose in brackets," from bracket (n.). Also, "to couple or connect with a brace" (1827), also figurative, "to couple one thing with another" in writing (1807). Artillery rangefinding sense is from 1903, from the noun (1891) in the specialized sense "distance between the ranges of two shells, one under and one over the object." Related: Bracketed; bracketing. In home-building and joinery, bracketed is attested by 1801.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper