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brake 1 (brāk)
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n.
1. A device for slowing or stopping motion, as of a vehicle, especially by contact friction.
2. Something that slows or stops action.
v. braked, brak·ing, brakes
v.tr.
To reduce the speed of with or as if with a brake.
v.intr.
1. To operate or apply a brake.
2. To be slowed or stopped by or as if by the operation of a brake.

[Early Modern English brake, bridle, curb (for a horse), perhaps from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, nose ring, curb, flax brake; see BRAKE2.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
brake 2 (brāk)
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n.
1. A toothed device for crushing and beating flax or hemp.
2. A heavy harrow for breaking clods of earth.
3. An apparatus for kneading large amounts of dough.
4. A machine for bending and folding sheet metal.
tr.v. braked, brak·ing, brakes
1. To crush (flax or hemp) in a toothed device.
2. To break up (clods of earth) with a harrow.

[Middle English, from Middle Dutch, from Middle Low German; see bhreg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
brake 3 (brāk)
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n.
A lever or handle on a machine such as a pump.

[Middle English, from Old French brac, from oblique form of bras, arm; see BRACER2.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
brake 4 (brāk)
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n.
1. Any of various ferns of the genus Pteris having pinnately compound leaves and including several popular houseplants.
2. Any of certain other ferns, such as bracken.

[Middle English, probably back-formation from braken; see BRACKEN.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
brake 5 (brāk)
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n.
An area overgrown with dense brushwood, briers, and undergrowth; a thicket.

[Middle English, from Middle Low German; see bhreg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
brake 6 (brāk)
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n. also break
A high horse-drawn carriage with four wheels.
v.
Archaic
A past tense of break.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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.

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