use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

brave (brāv)
Share:
adj. brav·er, brav·est
1. Possessing or displaying courage.
2. 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).
3. Excellent; great: "The Romans were like brothers / In the brave days of old" (Thomas Macaulay).
n.
1. A Native American warrior.
2. (used with a pl. verb) People who exhibit bravery or courage considered as a group: "O'er the land of the free / And the home of the brave" (Francis Scott Key).
3. Archaic A bully.
v. braved, brav·ing, braves
v.tr.
1. To endure or face courageously: "He remained in his tent on inclement mornings while others in the party braved the rain ... looking for birds" (Bert O. States). "Together they would brave Satan and all his legions" (Emily Brontë).
2. Obsolete To make showy or splendid.
v.intr.
Archaic
To make a courageous show or put up a stalwart front.

[Early Modern English, from Middle French, from Old Italian, wild, brave, excellent, probably from Vulgar Latin *brabus, from Latin barbarus; see BARBAROUS.]

bravely adv.
braveness n.

Synonyms: brave, courageous, fearless, intrepid, bold, audacious, valiant, valorous, mettlesome, plucky, dauntless, undaunted
These adjectives mean having or showing courage under difficult or dangerous conditions. Brave, the least specific, is frequently associated with an innate quality: "Familiarity with danger makes a brave man braver" (Herman Melville).
Courageous implies an inner strength that draws on principle or purpose as well as character: "The millions of refugees who have resettled here ... are courageous ... people who stood for something" (Robert E. Pierre and Paul Farhi).
Fearless emphasizes absence of fear and a willingness or even eagerness to take risks: "world-class [boating] races for fearless loners willing to face the distinct possibility of being run down, dismasted, capsized, attacked by whales" (Jo Ann Morse Ridley).
Intrepid suggests a fearlessness tempered by steadfast determination: "The great snowpeaks of the Himalayas isolated their communities from all but the most intrepid outsiders" (Mark Abley).
Bold stresses readiness to meet danger or difficulty and often a tendency to seek it out: "If we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at the hazard of their lives ... then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by" (Theodore Roosevelt).
Audacious implies daring, brazen, or extravagant boldness: "the audacious belief that many answers to questions of cosmic origin and evolution may be within their grasp" (John Noble Wilford).
Valiant and valorous suggest heroic bravery in service of a noble cause: "the valiant English who had defended their land for a thousand years" (Willie Morris). "The other hostages [will] never forget her calm, confident, valorous work" (William W. Bradley).
Mettlesome stresses spirit and love of challenge: "her horse, whose mettlesome spirit required a better rider" (Henry Fielding).
Plucky emphasizes spirit and heart in the face of unfavorable odds: "He couldn't abide the typical children's-book scenario of a plucky hero or heroine triumphing over adversity" (Christine M. Heppermann).
Dauntless and undaunted imply unflagging courage and a refusal to be dismayed: "So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war, / There never was knight like the young Lochinvar" (Sir Walter Scott). "Death and sorrow will be the companions of our journey.... We must be united, we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible" (Winston S. Churchill). See Also Synonyms at adventurous, defy.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.