a child, especially an annoying, spoiled, or impolite child (usually used in contempt or irritation).

Origin of brat

1495–1505; perhaps transferred use of brat rag, Old English bratt cloak < Celtic; compare Irish brat mantle, cloak
Related formsbrat·tish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brat

Contemporary Examples of brat

Historical Examples of brat

  • In those days, "brat" was the general name for little folks.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • His son, a brat of about fifteen, was accustomed to ride over to visit us.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • There was a brat for you who laughed at words she ought not to understand!


    Emile Zola

  • And 'twas easy to see what she'd been through with Cousin Harriet and that brat.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "I know it, dad; but I'll try to get along without it," replied the brat.

British Dictionary definitions for brat




a child, esp one who is ill-mannered or unruly: used contemptuously or playfully

Word Origin for brat

C16: perhaps special use of earlier brat rag, from Old English bratt cloak, of Celtic origin; related to Old Irish bratt cloth, brat ²




Northern English dialect an apron or overall

Word Origin for brat

from Old English brat cloak; related to Old Irish bratt cloth used to cover the body
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 brat

c.1500, slang, "beggar's child," originally northern, Midlands and western England dialect word for "makeshift or ragged garment;" probably the same word as Old English bratt "cloak," which is from a Celtic source (cf. Old Irish bratt "cloak, cloth"). The modern meaning is perhaps from notion of "child's apron." Hollywood Brat Pack (modeled on 1950s Rat Pack) is from 1985.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper