Definition of brace in English:

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Pronunciation: /breɪs/


1A device fitted to something, in particular a weak or injured part of the body, to give support: a neck brace
More example sentences
  • Traditional and conservative treatments include bed rest, ice followed by heat therapy, medication regimens, braces, and physical therapy.
  • Emergency crews had to fit a neck brace to the injured woman and push the Cavalier back on to its wheels before she could be rescued.
  • Pain medicines, back braces, and physical therapy may also be used.
support, caliper, truss, surgical appliance
1.1A strengthening piece of iron or timber used in building or carpentry.
Example sentences
  • Once you have it exact, nail some temporary cross braces from the ledger to the joists at an angle to keep the joists in place.
  • For large repairs, build a wooden form and hold it in place with wooden braces, bricks, concrete blocks, or similar heavy objects.
  • Stiffening in the other vertical plane is added by diagonal braces between the lattice girders on both gable walls.
prop, beam, joist, batten, rod, post, pole, column, strut, stay, support, truss, reinforcement, buttress, shore, stanchion, bracket;
Mining  sprag
1.2 (also braces) A wire device fitted in the mouth to straighten the teeth.
Example sentences
  • The second phase consists of the removal of extra teeth, the insertion of dental implants if teeth are missing, and the straightening of teeth using braces.
  • Your child will be asked to put on a hospital gown and to remove any loose orthodontic braces, false teeth and jewellery.
  • What once was a symbol of preteen anguish - a mouth filled with metal wires and braces - has become a relic of the past.
1.3 (also brace and bit) A drilling tool with a crank handle and a socket to hold a bit.
Example sentences
  • He presented a broad overview of bit history and discussed many types of boring tools for the brace, including several types of bits.
  • As with so many other pre-nineteenth century tools, we have much to learn about early braces, their designs, and their fabrication.
  • The tool also includes a means for rotating the cutting edge, usually using a brace or bit stock, a wrench, or a handle.
drill, drilling tool, boring tool, rotary tool
1.4A rope attached to the yard of a ship for trimming the sail.
Example sentences
  • The sail were loosed and reefed, furled and unfurled, braces manned, halyards tested.
  • The sail of Dolphin luffed in the breeze, still taut on the starboard braces.
2 (braces) British A pair of straps that pass over the shoulders and fasten to the top of trousers at the front and back to hold them up.
Example sentences
  • He wore a bowler hat, white shirt, trousers and braces like the main character and would become aggressive and menacing when he played the film music.
  • The display cabinets house socks, handkerchiefs, underwear, braces, belts - I am sure there are drawers and drawers of treasures beneath hiding away.
  • R.L. comes lumbering out onto the porch, looking old and tired, wearing mud-smeared trousers held up with braces and a checked shirt fraying at the collar.
3 (plural same) A pair of something, typically of birds or mammals killed in hunting: thirty brace of grouse
More example sentences
  • The saloon deck was a Noah's Ark of Labradorians: there were Celts two by two, pairs of Indians, a brace of hunters and thick, hot knots of Inuit and icemen.
  • Among the groups and couples were a brace of men eating in appreciative silence at tables for one - something I've always thought is a sign of a top kitchen.
  • The gap was still one hole at the turn, after a brace of deuces at the short ninth from Westwood and Haas.
pair, couple, duo, twosome, duology;
rare duplet, dyad, duad, doubleton
4 Printing Either of the two marks { and }, used either to indicate that two or more items on one side have the same relationship as each other to the single item to which the other side points, or in pairs to show that words between them are connected.
Example sentences
  • This is shown in Figure 7 with the brace indicating the route segment with shorter signpost spacings.
  • Whatever you choose, put the appropriate word between curly braces.
  • Note that parentheses indicate faces, whereas braces indicate forms.
bracket, parenthesis
4.1 Music A similar mark connecting staves to be performed at the same time.
Example sentences
  • The following illustrates barlines, brackets, and braces with a large orchestra that includes a piano soloist.
  • Putting a bunch of music expressions (e.g., notes) in braces means that they should be played in sequence.


1 [with object] Make (a structure) stronger or firmer with wood, iron, or other forms of support: the posts were braced by lengths of timber
More example sentences
  • A tilt-up concrete shear wall braces a wood-frame structure, and a steel frame supports the cantilever.
  • The grid acts as stiffening element, bracing the structure against seismic forces.
  • Full-height, double-glazed sheets brace the structure and barely divide interior from exterior.
support, shore up, prop up, hold up, buttress, carry, bear, underpin;
strengthen, reinforce, fortify
archaic underprop
1.1Press (one’s body or part of one’s body) firmly against something in order to stay balanced: she braced her feet against a projecting shelf he stood with legs braced
More example sentences
  • He braced his body to stand as he got up, and his asleep leg almost buckled underneath him, but his hand found the wall just in time.
  • With your right arm, grasp the dumbbell with an overhand grip and place your left hand firmly on your left thigh to brace your upper body.
  • He braced his shaking body against the wall and forced his legs to defy gravity and support him one last time.
steady, secure, stabilize, fix, make fast, prop, poise;
tense, tighten, stiffen, strain
1.2Prepare (someone) for something difficult or unpleasant: both stations are bracing themselves for job losses
More example sentences
  • Pakistan's mountain people are braced for another terrible test.
  • In fact, ‘we could be in the middle of the biggest bull market ever,’ he says, although he is braced for share prices to fall back quickly around 2009.
  • Along with most of my neighbors in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, I was braced for the presidential transition.
prepare, get ready, make ready, gear up, nerve, steel, galvanize, gird, strengthen, fortify, bolster, buttress
informal psych oneself up

Phrasal verbs

brace up

Be strong or courageous: she was about to tell him to brace up
More example sentences
  • She practically had ‘I drink Taster's Choice’ stamped on her forehead but I braced up and said, ‘Yes, every day.’
  • So Bill braced up enough to give the kid a weak sort of a smile and a promise to play the Russian in a Japanese war with him as soon as he felt a little better.
  • Not that it bothered Liv, but she finds it amusing whenever some of the girls come up to her and encourage her, saying stuff like, ‘Liv, don't let it get to you, brace up, all right?’


Middle English (as a verb meaning 'clasp, fasten tightly'): from Old French bracier 'embrace', from brace 'two arms', from Latin bracchia, plural of bracchium 'arm', from Greek brakhiōn.

Words that rhyme with brace

abase, ace, apace, backspace, base, bass, case, chase, dace, efface, embrace, encase, enchase, enlace, face, grace, interlace, interspace, in-your-face, lace, mace, misplace, outface, outpace, pace, place, plaice, race, space, Thrace, trace, upper case

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: brace

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