[ brangks ]
/ bræŋks /

noun (used with a plural verb)

Sometimes brank. a device consisting of a headpiece with a flat, iron bit to restrain the tongue, formerly used to punish scolds.

Nearby words

  1. branford,
  2. brangle,
  3. brangus,
  4. branhamella,
  5. brank,
  6. branle,
  7. brannigan,
  8. branny,
  9. branson,
  10. brant

Origin of branks

1585–95; perhaps to be identified with Middle English bernak “bridle, snaffle”; see barnacle2


[ brangk ]
/ bræŋk /

verb (used without object)

to hold up and toss the head, as a horse when spurning the bit or prancing.
to bridle; restrain.

Origin of brank

1500–50; (def 1) of uncertain origin; possibly related to German prangen “to adorn oneself, brag”; compare Middle High German brangen, brankieren; possibly 1550-1600; (def 2) of uncertain origin; probably a back formation from Scots branks “a bridle for restraining a scold” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for branks

British Dictionary definitions for branks


/ (bræŋks) /

pl n

(formerly) an iron bridle used to restrain scolding women

Word Origin for branks

C16: of unknown origin

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 branks


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper