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brace (brās)
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n.
1. A device that holds or fastens two or more parts together or in place; a clamp.
2. A device, such as a supporting beam in a building or a connecting wire or rope, that steadies or holds something else erect.
3. braces Chiefly British Suspenders.
4. An orthopedic appliance used to support, align, or hold a bodily part in the correct position.
5. often braces A dental appliance constructed of bands and wires that is fixed to the teeth to correct irregular alignment.
6. An extremely stiff, erect posture.
7. A cause or source of renewed physical or spiritual vigor.
8. A protective pad strapped to the bow arm of an archer.
9. Nautical A rope by which a yard is swung and secured on a square-rigged ship.
10. A cranklike handle with an adjustable aperture at one end for securing and turning a bit.
11. Music A leather loop that slides to change the tension on the cord of a drum.
12. Music
a. A vertical line, usually accompanied by the symbol {, connecting two or more staffs.
b. A set of staffs connected in this way.
13. A symbol, { or }, enclosing two or more lines of text or listed items to show that they are considered as a unit.
14. Mathematics Either of a pair of symbols, { }, used to indicate aggregation or to clarify the grouping of quantities when parentheses and square brackets have already been used. Also called bracket.
15. pl. brace A pair of like things: three brace of partridges.
v. braced, brac·ing, brac·es
v.tr.
1. To furnish with a brace.
2. To support or hold steady with or as if with a brace; reinforce.
3. To prepare or position so as to be ready for impact or danger: Union members braced themselves for a confrontation with management.
4. To confront with questions or requests.
5. To increase the tension of.
6. To invigorate; stimulate: "The freshness of the September morning inspired and braced him" (Thomas Hardy).
7. Nautical To turn (the yards of a ship) by the braces.
v.intr.
To get ready; make preparations.
Phrasal Verb:
brace up
To summon one's strength or endurance.

[Middle English, from Old French, the two arms, from Vulgar Latin *bracia, from Latin bracchia, brāchia, pl. of bracchium, brāchium, arm, from Greek brakhīōn, upper arm; see mregh-u- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. V., partly from Old French bracier, from Old French brace, the two arms.]
(click for a larger image)
brace
top: knee brace
bottom: orthodontic braces
(click for a larger image)
brace

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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