branks

[ 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.

Origin of branks

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

Definition for branks (2 of 2)

brank
[ 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”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for branks

British Dictionary definitions for branks

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