noun, plural brothers, (Archaic) brethren.
- (often initial capital letter)a male numbered among the lay members of a religious organization that has a priesthood.
- a man who devotes himself to the duties of a religious order without taking holy orders, or while preparing for holy orders.
Origin of brother
Examples from the Web for brethren
Contemporary Examples of brethren
It was an open secret, and one that discomfited several of his brethren.Ruth Bader Ginsburg Levels With Us on Why She’s Not Retiring
September 25, 2014
He is now sure to become a folk hero among his brethren on high steel.Hero or Criminal? James Brady, the WTC Ironworker Who Jumped Off the Building
March 25, 2014
Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
But when the school holds a ceremony honoring the soldiers who killed her Arab brethren, she suffers clear cognitive dissonance.What American Jews Can Learn From ‘Dove’s Cry’
November 18, 2013
Historical Examples of brethren
Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it unto me.Harriet, The Moses of Her People
Sarah H. Bradford
They were sick-and so were the purest of their brethren—with the plague of sin.The New Adam and Eve (From "Mosses From An Old Manse")
Yet we have just seen that the Greeks of old were too self-contained for their Italian brethren.The Dramatic Values in Plautus
Wilton Wallace Blancke
When our brethren departed, we could not tear our aged roots out of the soil.Old News
If John has not yet acted like his brethren, it is only because he is not yet old enough!Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II
Charlotte Mary Yonge
noun plural brothers or archaic except when referring to fellow members of a religion, sect, society, etc brethren
- a male person belonging to the same group, profession, nationality, trade union, etc, as another or others; fellow member
- (as modifier)brother workers
- a member of a male religious order who undertakes work for the order without actually being in holy orders
- a lay member of a male religious order
Word Origin for brother
alternative plural of brother (q.v.); predominant c.1200-1600s, but surviving now only in religious usage.
Old English broþor, from Proto-Germanic *brothar (cf. Old Norse broðir, Danish broder, Old Frisian brother, Dutch broeder, German Bruder, Gothic bróþar), from PIE root *bhrater (cf. Sanskrit bhrátár-, Old Persian brata, Greek phratér, Latin frater, Old Irish brathir, Welsh brawd, Lithuanian broterelis, Old Prussian brati, Old Church Slavonic bratru, Czech bratr "brother").
A highly stable word across the Indo-European languages. In the few cases where other words provide the sense, it is where the cognate of brother had been applied widely to "member of a fraternity," or where there was need to distinguish "son of the same mother" and "son of the same father." E.g. Greek adelphos, probably originally an adjective with frater and meaning, specifically, "brother of the womb" or "brother by blood;" and Spanish hermano "brother," from Latin germanus "full brother." As a familiar term of address from one man to another, it is attested from 1912 in U.S. slang; the specific use among blacks is recorded from 1973.