• synonyms


[brig-uh nd]
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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


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outlaw, highwayman, desperado, cutthroat.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for brigands


  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 brigands



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