• synonyms


or britt

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  1. the group of small marine animals forming the food of whalebone whales.
  2. the young of herring and sprat.
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Origin of brit

1595–1605; perhaps < Cornish brȳthel mackerel; akin to Old Cornish brȳth, Welsh brith speckled


noun Informal.
  1. Briton(def 1).
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Origin of Brit

First recorded in 1900–05; by shortening


or Berith, Brit, Bris

[Sephardic Hebrew breet; Ashkenazic Hebrew bris; English bris, brit]
noun Hebrew.
  1. the Jewish rite of circumcising a male child eight days after his birth.
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Compare Brith Milah.

Origin of Brith

bərīth literally, covenant


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

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British Dictionary definitions for brit


noun (functioning as singular or plural)
  1. the young of a herring, sprat, or similar fish
  2. minute marine crustaceans, esp copepods, forming food for many fishes and whales
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Word Origin

C17: perhaps from Cornish brӯthel mackerel; see brill


  1. informal a British person
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abbreviation for
  1. Britain
  2. British
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  1. a variant of bris
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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 brit



U.S. colloquial shortening of Britisher or Briton, 1901, formerly (in common with Britisher) highly offensive to Englishmen traveling in the States, who regarded it as yet another instance of the "odious vulgarism" of the Americans, but Bret and Bryt were common Old English words for the (Celtic) Britons and survived until c.1300. In Old French, Bret as an adjective meant "British, Breton; cunning, crafty; simple-minded, stupid."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper