View synonyms for broad



[ brawd ]


, broad·er, broad·est.
  1. of great breadth:

    The river was too broad to swim across.

    Antonyms: narrow

  2. measured from side to side:

    The desk was three feet broad.

  3. of great extent; large:

    the broad expanse of ocean.

    Synonyms: vast, ample, extensive

  4. We awoke to broad daylight.

  5. not limited or narrow; of extensive range or scope:

    A modern doctor must have a broad knowledge of medicine.

    Synonyms: open, wide, extensive

  6. A broad interpretation of the law tempers justice with mercy.

  7. main or general:

    the broad outlines of a subject.

  8. plain or clear:

    Her remark was a broad hint of her feelings.

  9. He smirked at the broad joke.

    Synonyms: gross

  10. (of conversation) rough; countrified.
  11. unconfined; unbridled; unrestrained;

    It was a hilarious evening of broad mirth.

  12. (of pronunciation) strongly dialectal:

    He wore kilts and had a broad Scots accent.

  13. Phonetics. (of a transcription) using one basic symbol to represent each phoneme.
  14. broad a, the a- sound [ah] when used in lieu of the more common a- sound [a] in such words as half, can't, and laugh.


  1. fully:

    He was broad awake.


  1. the broad part of anything.
  2. Slang.
    1. Usually Offensive. a term used to refer to a woman.
    2. a promiscuous woman.
  3. Often broads. Movies, Television. an incandescent or fluorescent lamp used as a general source of light in a studio.
  4. a gold coin of England and Scotland, issued by James I and Charles I and equal to 20 shillings. Compare carolus, jacobus.



[ brawd ]


  1. C(harlie) D(unbar), 1887–1971, English philosopher.


/ brɔːd /


  1. having relatively great breadth or width
  2. of vast extent; spacious

    a broad plain

  3. postpositive from one side to the other

    four miles broad

  4. of great scope or potential

    that invention had broad applications

  5. not detailed; general

    broad plans

  6. clear and open; full (esp in the phrase broad daylight )
  7. obvious or plain

    broad hints

  8. liberal; tolerant

    a broad political stance

  9. widely spread; extensive

    broad support

  10. outspoken or bold

    a broad manner

  11. vulgar; coarse; indecent

    a broad joke

  12. unrestrained; free

    broad laughter

  13. (of a dialect or pronunciation) consisting of a large number of speech sounds characteristic of a particular geographical area

    a broad Yorkshire accent

  14. 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 Compare narrow

    broad money

  15. phonetics
    1. of or relating to a type of pronunciation transcription in which symbols correspond approximately to phonemes without taking account of allophonic variations
    2. the long vowel in English words such as father , half , as represented in the received pronunciation of Southern British English
  16. as broad as it is long
    amounting to the same thing; without advantage either way


  1. the broad part of something
  2. slang.
    1. a girl or woman
    2. a prostitute
  3. dialect.
    a river spreading over a lowland See also Broads
  4. dialect.
    a shallow lake
  5. a wood-turning tool used for shaping the insides and bottoms of cylinders


  1. widely or fully

    broad awake

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Sensitive Note

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

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Derived Forms

  • ˈbroadly, adverb
  • ˈbroadness, noun

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Other Words From

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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of broad1

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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of broad1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

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

More idioms and phrases containing broad

  • can't hit the broad side of a barn

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Synonym Study

See wide.

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Example Sentences

The move combines two large players to offer a broad range of services, from PR to marketing and online customer engagement.

Self-talk, it turns out, is a much broader and more nuanced phenomenon than just telling yourself that you can do it.

Any group — even one with views outside the mainstream — that can seize control of a political party can count on the broad support of partisans for that party.

The school issued a statement Wednesday saying it had fielded only a broad inquiry from the GOP, with no discussions about the number of parking spaces needed or the rental cost.

Since a 2016 attempted coup threatened to remove him from power, thousands of Turkish academics, military members, and journalists have been prosecuted under broad anti-terrorism laws.

From Time

In other words, fluoride is a broad-spectrum, bipartisan, long-lasting magnet for dissent.

The Eighty-ninth Congress was potentially more fertile ground for the broad range of controversial programs on his dream agenda.

Our time is so vastly different in its particulars that the parallels work only in broad strokes.

Then, under the bold headline “Rebooting Spider-Man,” Robinov describes a broad vision for the future of the franchise.

The protests so far have relied on a small group of core organizing bodies to harness broad but diffuse support.

His strong legs and his broad, spade-like feet helped to make him a fine swimmer.

This gave the house a very cheerful appearance, as if it were constantly on a broad grin.

And now I am going on to a review of the broad facts of the educational organization of our present world.

The embankment or road-bed was commenced by gigantic piling, and is very broad and substantial.

Two broad dormer windows looked out toward the Gulf, and as far across it as a man's eye might reach.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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