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

  • n. A child, especially a spoiled or ill-mannered one.
  • n. A child of a career military person.
  • n. Bratwurst.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A child (as a pejorative term); offspring.
  • n. Now often specifically, a selfish or spoiled child.
  • n. bratwurst
  • n. A thin bed of coal mixed with pyrites or carbonate of lime.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A coarse garment or cloak; also, coarse clothing, in general.
  • n. A coarse kind of apron for keeping the clothes clean; a bib.
  • n. A child; an offspring; -- formerly used in a good sense, but now usually in a contemptuous sense.
  • n. The young of an animal.
  • n. A thin bed of coal mixed with pyrites or carbonate of lime.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A coarse mantle or cloak.
  • n. A child's bib or apron.
  • n. A clout; a rag.
  • n. The film on the surface of some liquids, as on boiled milk when cold.
  • n. A child: now used only in contempt: as, “this brat is none of mine,”
  • n. “their dirty brats,”
  • n. A local English name of the turbot.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small pork sausage
  • n. a very troublesome child


Possibly from brat, coarse garment, from Middle English, from Old English bratt, of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin uncertain. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term "brat" derives from an Old English (Old English) slang term meaning "beggar's child". Originally a northern, Midlands and western England dialect word for "makeshift or ragged garment;" probably the same word as Old English bratt "cloak," which is from a Celtic source (cf. O.Ir. bratt "cloak, cloth"). (Wiktionary)
Shortened from bratwurst, from the German Bratwurst (Wiktionary)



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  • Cf. definitions of bratchet. One wonders if that word figures in the uncertain etymology of brat.

    January 4, 2012

  • Means "brother" in Russian.

    July 13, 2009

  • October 28, 2007