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  1. a bandit, especially one of a band of robbers in mountain or forest regions.
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Origin of brigand

1350–1400; variant of Middle English briga(u)nt < Middle French brigand < Old Italian brigante companion, member of an armed company, equivalent to brig(are) to treat, deal (with), make war (derivative of briga trouble, strife; of uncertain origin) + -ante -ant
Related formsbrig·and·age, nounbrig·and·ish, adjectivebrig·and·ish·ly, adverb

Synonyms for brigand

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for brigand

outlaw, desperado, thief, highwayman, bandit, soldier, pirate, robber, marauder, pillager, footpad, freebooter

Examples from the Web for brigand

Historical Examples of brigand

  • And it was this ogre, this brigand, this scoundrel Macquart, whom Adelaide had chosen!

    The Fortune of the Rougons

    Emile Zola

  • Pretty thing to go down on your knees to the brigand who has stripped you!

  • It may be an ignoble thing to lie, but with what other weapon was I to fight this brigand?

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Grantline with his treasure, unsuspecting this brigand ship.

  • She must see that my interview has been with an English gentleman, and not a brigand chief.

    Tony Butler

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for brigand


  1. a bandit or plunderer, esp a member of a gang operating in mountainous areas
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Derived Formsbrigandage or brigandry, noun

Word Origin for brigand

C14: from Old French, from Old Italian brigante fighter, from brigare to fight, from briga strife, of Celtic 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 brigand


c.1400, "lightly armed foot soldier," from Old French brigand (14c.), from Italian brigante "trooper, skirmisher, foot soldier," from brigare (see brigade). Sense of "one who lives by pillaging" is from early 15c., reflecting the lack of distinction between professional mercenary armies and armed, organized criminals.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper