Definitions

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

  • noun The young of herring and similar fish.
  • noun Minute marine organisms, such as crustaceans of the genus Calanus, that are a major source of food for right whales.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An abbreviation of British and Britain.
  • noun A young herring of the common kind, occurring in large shoals, and formerly classed as a separate species, Clupea minima.
  • noun A general name for animals upon which whales feed, as Clio borealis, etc.; whale-brit.
  • To break in pieces; divide.
  • To bruise; indent.
  • To fall out or shatter, as overripe hops or grain.
  • To fade away; alter.

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

  • noun The young of the common herring; also, a small species of herring; the sprat.
  • noun The minute marine animals (chiefly Entomostraca) upon which the right whales feed.

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

  • noun brit milah
  • noun One of the young of herrings, sprats etc
  • noun One of the tiny crustaceans, of the genus Calanus, that are part of the diet of right whales.
  • verb transitive To break in pieces; divide.
  • verb transitive To bruise; indent.
  • verb intransitive To fall out or shatter (as overripe hops or grain).
  • verb intransitive, dialectal To fade away; alter.

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

  • noun minute crustaceans forming food for right whales
  • noun a native or inhabitant of Great Britain
  • noun the young of a herring or sprat or similar fish

Etymologies

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

[Perhaps from Cornish brȳthel, mackerel (from Old Cornish breithil, from *breith, speckled) or from Welsh brithyll, trout (from brith, speckled).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Short for brit milah.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Middle English bret or birt, applied to a different kind of fish. See bret.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English brytten, brutten, from Old English brittian, bryttian ("to divide, dispense, distribute, rule over, possess, enjoy the use of"), from Proto-Germanic *brutjanan (“to break, divide”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰreud- (“to break”). Cognate with Icelandic brytja ("to chop up, break in pieces, slaughter"), Swedish bryta ("to break, fracture, cut off"), Danish bryde ("to break") and Albanian brydh ("I make crumbly, friable, soft"). Related to Old English brytta ("dispenser, giver, author, governor, prince"), Old English brēotan ("to break in pieces, hew down, demolish, destroy, kill").

Examples

  • The other wrong answer: if you were a book, who would most likely read you? students in brit lit I (middle english to 1600)

    You read Beowulf 3 times? Really...?

  • The other wrong answer: if you were a book, who would most likely read you? students in brit lit I (middle english to 1600)

    Archive 2005-12-01

  • Adler also regards this marriage ceremony, called brit ha-ahuvim (covenant of the loved ones), as appropriate for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

    Ritual: A Feminist Approach.

  • In the Propontis, as far as I can learn, none of that peculiar substance called brit is to be found, the aliment of the right whale.

    Moby Dick; or the Whale

  • In the Propontis, as far as I can learn, none of that peculiar substance called brit is to be found, the aliment of the right whale.

    Moby Dick: or, the White Whale

  • In the Propontis, as far as I can learn, none of that peculiar substance called brit is to be found, the aliment of the Right Whale.

    Moby-Dick, or, The Whale

  • One of those is a commandment called brit milah, which translates as covenant of…

    The Sheaf

  • There is a comment in this blog about the pompous 'brit'; he is incredible...very knowledgeable about food and was able to describe the taste exactly.

    Dinner is served

  • Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta has adopted a "brit," or contract, that stipulates the inclusive values of the community.

    undefined

  • As a brit, I have no idea what a binder clip or a butterfly Clip is!

    A better paperclip | clusterflock

Comments

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  • In the Propontis, as far as I can learn, none of that peculiar substance called brit is to be found, the aliment of the right whale.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 45

    July 25, 2008

  • Also see brite.

    January 26, 2012