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

  • adj. Possessing or displaying courage; valiant.
  • adj. Making a fine display; impressive or showy: "a coat of brave red lipstick on a mouth so wrinkled that it didn't even have a clear outline” ( Anne Tyler).
  • adj. Excellent; great: "The Romans were like brothers/In the brave days of old” ( Thomas Macaulay).
  • n. A Native American warrior.
  • n. A courageous person.
  • n. Archaic A bully.
  • transitive v. To undergo or face courageously.
  • transitive v. To challenge; dare: "Together they would brave Satan and all his legions” ( Emily Brontë).
  • transitive v. Obsolete To make showy or splendid.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To make a courageous show or put up a stalwart front.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Strong in the face of fear; courageous.
  • n. A Native American warrior.
  • v. To encounter with courage and fortitude, to defy.
  • v. To adorn; to make fine or showy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. [Cf. bravo, n.] A brave, bold, or daring person; a man daring beyond discretion. Specifically
  • n. A North American Indian or other savage warrior: as, the chief was accompanied by two hundred braves.
  • n. A hector; a bully; a bravo.
  • n. [⟨ brave, v.] A boast; a challenge; a defiance.
  • To encounter with courage and fortitude; set at defiance; defy; challenge; dare.
  • To wear a boasting appearance of.
  • To make fine, showy, or splendid.

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

  • adj. brightly colored and showy
  • adj. possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching
  • adj. invulnerable to fear or intimidation
  • v. face and withstand with courage
  • n. a North American Indian warrior
  • n. 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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  • as I know brave is from bravo which means "courageous, wild"

    November 9, 2011

  • brave originally meant cowardice as in bravado

    September 8, 2009