brank (brăngk) or branks (brăngks)
A device consisting of a metal frame for the head and a bit to restrain the tongue, formerly used to punish scolds.
[Possibly from Dutch branken, legs (of a compass, scissors, etc.), pl. of branke, branch, from Late Latin branca, paw; see BRANCH.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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:
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.