[bruhth-er-hoo d]
See more synonyms for brotherhood on
  1. the condition or quality of being a brother or brothers.
  2. the quality of being brotherly; fellowship.
  3. a fraternal or trade organization.
  4. all those engaged in a particular trade or profession or sharing a common interest or quality.
  5. the belief that all people should act with warmth and equality toward one another, regardless of differences in nationality, creed, ethnicity, etc.

Origin of brotherhood

1250–1300; Middle English brithirhod (see brother, -hood); replacing early Middle English brotherhede; see -head Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brotherhood

Contemporary Examples of brotherhood

Historical Examples of brotherhood

  • Yet there are other powers who are not "ohai band" (of the brotherhood)—China, for instance.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Well I know that it will stand none the lower for your having joined the brotherhood.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It is our duty to the Brotherhood—it is also our duty to God.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Christmas had come and gone at the Brotherhood, and yet the project was unfulfilled.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • He remembered me at the Brotherhood, and told me all about it.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for brotherhood


  1. the state of being related as a brother or brothers
  2. an association or fellowship, such as a trade union
  3. all persons engaged in a particular profession, trade, etc
  4. the belief, feeling, or hope that all people should regard and treat one another as equals
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 brotherhood

equivalent of Old English broþerrede "fellowship, brotherhood," with ending as in kindred; in early Middle English the word was brotherhede with ending as in maidenhead. The modern word, with -hood, is from 15c. Originally "relationship of a brother," also "friendly companionship." Concrete sense of "an association, a fraternity" is from mid-14c. in the Middle English word (later also "labor union," 1880s). Old English also had broðorscipe "brothership," broðorsibb "kinship of brothers."

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Muslims,
And everybody hates the Jews.

[Tom Lehrer, "National Brotherhood Week" lyrics, 1965]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper