[ brawd ]
See synonyms for broad on
adjective,broad·er, broad·est.
  1. of great breadth: The river was too broad to swim across.

  2. measured from side to side: The desk was three feet broad.

  1. of great extent; large: the broad expanse of ocean.

  2. wide-open; full: We awoke to broad daylight.

  3. not limited or narrow; of extensive range or scope: A modern doctor must have a broad knowledge of medicine.

  4. liberal; tolerant: A broad interpretation of the law tempers justice with mercy.

  5. main or general: the broad outlines of a subject.

  6. plain or clear: Her remark was a broad hint of her feelings.

  7. indelicate; indecent: He smirked at the broad joke.

  8. (of conversation) rough; countrified.

  9. unconfined; unbridled; unrestrained; It was a hilarious evening of broad mirth.

  10. (of pronunciation) strongly dialectal: He wore kilts and had a broad Scots accent.

  11. Phonetics. (of a transcription) using one basic symbol to represent each phoneme.

  12. broad a, the a-sound [ah] /ɑ/ when used in lieu of the more common a-sound [a] /æ/ in such words as half, can't, and laugh.

  1. fully: He was broad awake.

  1. the broad part of anything.

  2. Slang.

    • Usually Offensive. a term used to refer to a woman.

    • a promiscuous woman.

  1. Often broads. Movies, Television. an incandescent or fluorescent lamp used as a general source of light in a studio.

  2. a gold coin of England and Scotland, issued by James I and Charles I and equal to 20 shillings.: Compare carolus, jacobus.

Idioms about broad

  1. broad on the beam, Nautical. bearing 90° to the heading of a vessel.

  2. broad on the bow, Nautical. bearing 45° to the heading of a vessel.

  1. broad on the quarter, Nautical. bearing 135° to the heading of a vessel.

Origin of broad

First recorded before 1000; Middle English bro(a)d, Old English brād; cognate with Dutch breed, German breit, Old Norse breithr, Gothic braiths

synonym study For broad

1. See wide.

usage note For broad

When used to refer to a woman, broad is usually perceived as insulting. The meaning “promiscuous woman” is probably the earlier sense.

Other words for broad

Opposites for broad

Other words from broad

  • broad·ish, adjective
  • broad·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·broad, adjective

Words Nearby broad

Other definitions for Broad (2 of 2)

[ brawd ]

  1. C(harlie) D(unbar), 1887–1971, English philosopher. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use broad in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for broad (1 of 2)


/ (brɔːd) /

  1. having relatively great breadth or width

  2. of vast extent; spacious: a broad plain

  1. (postpositive) from one side to the other: four miles broad

  2. of great scope or potential: that invention had broad applications

  3. not detailed; general: broad plans

  4. clear and open; full (esp in the phrase broad daylight)

  5. obvious or plain: broad hints

  6. liberal; tolerant: a broad political stance

  7. widely spread; extensive: broad support

  8. outspoken or bold: a broad manner

  9. vulgar; coarse; indecent: a broad joke

  10. unrestrained; free: broad laughter

  11. (of a dialect or pronunciation) consisting of a large number of speech sounds characteristic of a particular geographical area: a broad Yorkshire accent

  12. finance denoting an assessment of liquidity as including notes and coin in circulation with the public, banks' till money and balances, most private-sector bank deposits, and sterling bank-deposit certificates: broad money Compare narrow (def. 7)

  13. phonetics

    • of or relating to a type of pronunciation transcription in which symbols correspond approximately to phonemes without taking account of allophonic variations

    • broad a the long vowel in English words such as father, half, as represented in the received pronunciation of Southern British English

  14. as broad as it is long amounting to the same thing; without advantage either way

  1. the broad part of something

  2. slang, mainly US and Canadian

    • a girl or woman

    • a prostitute

  1. British dialect a river spreading over a lowland: See also Broads

  2. East Anglian dialect a shallow lake

  3. a wood-turning tool used for shaping the insides and bottoms of cylinders

  1. widely or fully: broad awake

Origin of broad

Old English brād; related to Old Norse breithr, Old Frisian brēd, Old High German breit, Gothic braiths

Derived forms of broad

  • broadly, adverb
  • broadness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for B-road (2 of 2)


  1. (in Britain) a secondary road

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with broad


In addition to the idioms beginning with broad

  • broad daylight
  • broad in the beam
  • broad shoulders, have

also see:

  • can't hit the broad side of a barn

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.