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

  • adjective Possessing or displaying courage.
  • adjective Making a fine display; impressive or showy.
  • adjective Excellent; great.
  • noun A Native American warrior.
  • noun People who exhibit bravery or courage considered as a group.
  • noun Archaic A bully.
  • intransitive verb To endure or face courageously.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To make showy or splendid.
  • intransitive verb To make a courageous show or put up a stalwart front.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To encounter with courage and fortitude; set at defiance; defy; challenge; dare.
  • To wear a boasting appearance of.
  • To make fine, showy, or splendid.
  • Possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurancel intrepid; valiant; fearless: as, a brave warrior; a brave act; he was brave under calamity.
  • Making a fine display in bearing, dress, or appearance generally; having a noble mien: said of persons.
  • Splendid; beautiful; gorgeous; gaudy: said of things.
  • Excellent; capital; fine; admirable.
  • Synonyms Gallant, Valiant, Courageous, Brave, Heroic, valorous, dauntless, chivalrous, doughty, resolute manful. Gallant, splendid in dress or qualities, is most appropriately used with regard to courage which exhibits itself in deeds attracting attention and applause; of the first four words it is that which may have in it most of compliment and least of high commendation, but it is often a strong word, expressing splendid bravery in action: as, he was a gallant officer. Valiant is also brave in action, especially in opposing physical force, as in battle. The word is now elevated and poetic. Courageous denotes the possession of that spirit which enables one fearlessly and with full presence of mind to face danger. Brave is the most comprehensive of the words; it may denote the possession of the highest and noblest kind of courage and fortitude, of that spirit which enables a man to bear up against evil and danger, as well as to go forth to face it. Courageous has much of this breadth of meaning, but is applicable rather to doing than to enduring; brave is both passive and active. Heroic combines the meaning of all the other words in the superlative degree. It indicates a lofty superiority to fear, a noble self-forgetfulness, an almost superhuman power to dare, achieve, or suffer. It bears the same relation to the otehr words that sublime bears to great, grand, or lofty.
  • noun [Cf. bravo, n.] A brave, bold, or daring person; a man daring beyond discretion. Specifically
  • noun A North American Indian or other savage warrior: as, the chief was accompanied by two hundred braves.
  • noun A hector; a bully; a bravo.
  • noun [⟨ brave, v.] A boast; a challenge; a defiance.

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

  • adjective Bold; courageous; daring; intrepid; -- opposed to cowardly.
  • adjective Obs. or Archaic as applied to material things. Having any sort of superiority or excellence; -- especially such as in conspicuous.
  • adjective Archaic Making a fine show or display.
  • transitive verb To encounter with courage and fortitude; to set at defiance; to defy; to dare.
  • transitive verb obsolete To adorn; to make fine or showy.
  • noun A brave person; one who is daring.
  • noun Specifically, an Indian warrior.
  • noun A man daring beyond discretion; a bully.
  • noun obsolete A challenge; a defiance; bravado.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Strong in the face of fear; courageous.
  • noun A Native American warrior.
  • verb transitive To encounter with courage and fortitude, to defy.
  • verb transitive, obsolete To adorn; to make fine or showy.

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

  • adjective brightly colored and showy
  • adjective possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching
  • adjective invulnerable to fear or intimidation
  • verb face and withstand with courage
  • noun a North American Indian warrior
  • noun people who are brave


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Old Italian or Old Spanish bravo, wild, brave, excellent, probably from Vulgar Latin *brabus, from Latin barbarus; see barbarous.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French brave, borrowed from Italian bravo, itself either from Provençal brau ("show-off"), from Gaulish *bragos (compare Middle Irish breagha (modern breá) 'fine', Breton braga 'to strut') or from Latin *bravus, from a fusion of pravus and barbarus into a root *bravus.


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  • _Ce brave homme_ (I like the old sacristan's term of _brave homme_, as it is one of the few untranslateable French words) flew to the cathedral at the moment that a horde of brigands had entered it to commence the work of mutilation; and, seconded by nothing but his known character for resolution, and an athletic person, fairly intimidated and turned them out for the time.

    Itinerary of Provence and the Rhone Made During the Year 1819 John Hughes

  • So strictly, it would seem, do the mass of mankind confine the term brave and good to those who are the benefactors of themselves.

    Hellenica 2007

  • So strictly, it would seem, do the mass of mankind confine the term brave and good to those who are the benefactors of themselves.

    Hellenica 431 BC-350? BC Xenophon 1874

  • I mean, they're sort of - they're extreme examples of what I call brave parenting.

    Sailor Abby Sunderland's Parents: Brave Or Bad? 2010

  • In other words, what you call brave to accept is what they struggle to achieve over thousands of lifetimes.

    "Is anyone as unsurprised as I am that he's a Leo?" Ann Althouse 2008

  • Sisulu for what it called his brave undertaking to counter the effect of foreign culture, SABC radio news reported on Wednesday.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1994

  • I have often heard of your bravery in saving your fellow men from drowning, and I have sometimes wished I could see you; you are what I call a brave, clever fellow.

    The Hero of the Humber or the History of the Late Mr. John Ellerthorpe Henry Woodcock

  • "But that was not what we call a brave deed," said Roy, at length.

    His Big Opportunity Amy le Feuvre

  • "Well, that is the truth, Billy; I ar'n't what you call a brave chap, and I can't fight a bit till some one hurts me, and then I s'pose I do let go, 'cause you see I feel nasty and sawage like, but that ar'n't being brave."

    Fire Island Being the Adventures of Uncertain Naturalists in an Unknown Track George Manville Fenn 1870

  • When describing performances, critics often use the word 'brave' as a euphemism for 'naked', and Fassbender and Mulligan are extraordinarily brave here in both senses of the word. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph Robbie Collin 2012


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  • brave originally meant cowardice as in bravado

    September 8, 2009

  • as I know brave is from bravo which means "courageous, wild"

    November 9, 2011