• synonyms


  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


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

Examples from the Web for brigandish

Historical Examples

  • But the cloak, is it not mysterious, brigandish—tragic, if you will?

    Romantic Spain

    John Augustus O'Shea

  • The officer was wrapped in a heavy blanket or carriage lap-robe, spotted like a leopard skin, which gave him a brigandish air.

  • He is a brigandish and bearded person in a foraging cap, leaning forward to rest himself on his gun.

  • Add a beard of three days' growth, and brigandish mustachios, and you have our 'picters.'


    Marion Harland

British Dictionary definitions for brigandish


  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

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 brigandish



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