Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An area overgrown with dense brushwood, briers, and undergrowth; a thicket.
  • noun A high horse-drawn carriage with four wheels.
  • noun A lever or handle on a machine such as a pump.
  • noun Any of various ferns of the genus Pteris having pinnately compound leaves and including several popular houseplants.
  • noun Any of certain other ferns, such as bracken.
  • noun A device for slowing or stopping motion, as of a vehicle, especially by contact friction.
  • noun Something that slows or stops action.
  • intransitive verb To reduce the speed of with or as if with a brake.
  • intransitive verb To operate or apply a brake.
  • intransitive verb To be slowed or stopped by or as if by the operation of a brake.
  • noun A toothed device for crushing and beating flax or hemp.
  • noun A heavy harrow for breaking clods of earth.
  • noun An apparatus for kneading large amounts of dough.
  • noun A machine for bending and folding sheet metal.
  • transitive verb To crush (flax or hemp) in a toothed device.
  • transitive verb To break up (clods of earth) with a harrow.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A break; brack; flaw.
  • noun A mechanical device for arresting the motion of a vehicle: now usually classed with brake, see braken., 9.
  • noun A place overgrown with bushes or brushwood, shrubs, and brambles; a thicket, in the United States, a cane-brake, that is, a tract of ground overgrown with cane, Arundinaria macrosperma.
  • noun A single bush, or a number of bushes growing by themselves.
  • noun The name given to Pteris aquilina and other large ferns. See Pteris.
  • To vomit.
  • To vomit; cast up.
  • noun In cracker-baking, a machine for rolling dough, to be used in making gingersnaps and other thin cakes, into sheets ready for the panning-machine.
  • noun In sheet-metal work, a machine for bending and forming sheet-metal, used in making larger forms such as metal cornices; a cornice-brake.
  • noun Obsolete or archaic preterit of break.
  • noun A tool or machine for breaking up the woody portion of flax, to loosen it from the harl or fibers.
  • noun The handle or lever by which a pump is worked.
  • noun A bakers' kneading-machine.
  • noun A sharp bit or snaffle: as, “a snaffle bit or brake,”
  • noun An apparatus for confining refractory horses while being shod.
  • noun A medieval engine of war analogous to the ballista.
  • noun A large heavy harrow for breaking clods after plowing. Also called drag.
  • noun A kind of wagonette. A large and heavy variety of this vehicle is used for breaking in young horses to harness.
  • noun Any mechanical device for arresting or retarding the motion of a vehicle or car by means of friction.
  • noun The fore part of a carriage, by which it is turned.
  • noun A basket-makers' tool for stripping the bark from willow wands.
  • noun An old instrument of torture. Also called the Duke of Exeter's daughter.
  • To crack or break (the stalks of flax) in order to separate the woody portions from the fiber. Now written break.
  • To retard or stop the motion of by the application of a brake.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An instrument or machine to break or bruise the woody part of flax or hemp so that it may be separated from the fiber.
  • noun An extended handle by means of which a number of men can unite in working a pump, as in a fire engine.
  • noun A baker's kneading though.
  • noun A sharp bit or snaffle.
  • noun A frame for confining a refractory horse while the smith is shoeing him; also, an inclosure to restrain cattle, horses, etc.
  • noun That part of a carriage, as of a movable battery, or engine, which enables it to turn.
  • noun (Mil.) An ancient engine of war analogous to the crossbow and ballista.
  • noun (Agric.) A large, heavy harrow for breaking clods after plowing; a drag.
  • noun A piece of mechanism for retarding or stopping motion by friction, as of a carriage or railway car, by the pressure of rubbers against the wheels, or of clogs or ratchets against the track or roadway, or of a pivoted lever against a wheel or drum in a machine.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Middle Low German; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French brac, from oblique form of bras, arm; see bracer.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, probably back-formation from braken; see bracken.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably brake, bridle, curb, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, nose ring, curb, flax brake; see brake.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Middle Dutch, from Middle Low German; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Compare Middle Low German brake.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Dutch braeke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Apparently a shortened form of bracken. (Compare chick, chicken.)

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Inflected forms.

Examples

Comments

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  • Also spelled break; a horse-drawn carriage of the 19th and early 20th centuries, with four wheels, designed for country use. The most common brake was called the shooting brake; it carried a driver, a footman or gamekeeper, and up to six sportsmen in the back on lengthwise benches, with dogs, guns, and game carried along the sides in slatted racks.

    The name derives from the fact that it was originally a four-wheeled carriage frame with no body, used to break in inexperienced horse teams.

    October 22, 2008

  • As in thicket.

    December 10, 2009