brier

1

or bri·ar

[ brahy-er ]
/ ˈbraɪ ər /

noun

a prickly plant or shrub, especially the sweetbrier or a greenbrier.
a tangled mass of prickly plants.
a thorny stem or twig.

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Origin of brier

1
before 1000; Middle English brer, Old English brǣr, brēr; akin to bramble

OTHER WORDS FROM brier

bri·er·y, adjective

Definition for brier (2 of 3)

brier2

or bri·ar

[ brahy-er ]
/ ˈbraɪ ər /

noun

the white heath, Erica arborea, of France and Corsica, the woody root of which is used for making tobacco pipes.
a pipe made of brierroot.

Origin of brier

2
1865–70; earlier bruyer < French bruyère, Old French < Gallo-Latin *brūcāria field of heather, equivalent to *brūc- heather (< Gaulish, perhaps *broiko- (with early L change of oi > ū) < Celtic *wroiko- > Old Irish froech, Welsh grug) + Latin -āria -ary; compare early Medieval Latin brucus, brugaria; see -er2, -ar2

Definition for brier (3 of 3)

brier3

or bri·ar

[ brahy-er ]
/ ˈbraɪ ər /

noun Usually Disparaging.

(chiefly in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee) a term used to refer to a rustic or hillbilly, especially one from Appalachia.

Origin of brier

3
shortening of brier hopper

usage note for brier

This term is usually used with disparaging intent to refer to those white people who migrated north and west from Southern Appalachia throughout the first half of the 20th century. These migrants, mostly from eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, were looking for jobs in southeastern Ohio and other places. Brier has negative connotations similar to words such as hillbilly and redneck . But brier has also been used as a term of self-reference by the migrants themselves and their descendants. It is a shortened form of brier hopper/brierhopper (also spelled briar hopper/briarhopper ), probably a reference to the brier bushes found in Southern Appalachia.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for brier

British Dictionary definitions for brier (1 of 2)

brier1

briar

/ (ˈbraɪə) /

noun

any of various thorny shrubs or other plants, such as the sweetbrier and greenbrier

Derived forms of brier

briery or briary, adjective

Word Origin for brier

Old English brēr, brǣr, of obscure origin

British Dictionary definitions for brier (2 of 2)

brier2
/ (ˈbraɪə) /

noun

a variant spelling of briar 1
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