Definition of brace in English:



  • 1A device fitted to something, in particular a weak or injured part of the body, to give support.

    ‘a neck brace’
    • ‘He called 911 and they came immediately, placing a brace around my neck and put my lifeless body on a board.’
    • ‘Knee braces are supports that you wear for a painful or injured knee.’
    • ‘He is expected to wear a neck brace for six to 12 weeks and his physical therapy will begin after he recovers from the concussion and neck injury.’
    • ‘Traditional and conservative treatments include bed rest, ice followed by heat therapy, medication regimens, braces, and physical therapy.’
    • ‘Mr Hill was shaking with shock and reaction and taken to hospital with a neck brace, though doctors later decided he had no broken bones.’
    • ‘As the paramedics lifted his body onto the stretcher and applied a neck brace Kim was held back by the police.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mild cases of CSM can be treated with neck braces or neck traction, but it's not clear if these treatments help in the long run.’
    • ‘Pain medicines, back braces, and physical therapy may also be used.’
    • ‘Specialist equipment such as splints, callipers and braces can help with paralysis and contractures.’
    • ‘There can be problems with the length of time your child is required to wear the brace and the embarrassment it may cause.’
    • ‘Wearing a neck brace because of chronic back pain, Anwar walked into his home with dozens of police and prison guards.’
    • ‘Roberta had been using the laptop during the school day to help her with her work because of a medical condition which forces her to wear a body brace and restricts her ability to write at a desk.’
    • ‘I had a halo brace fitted to my body basically, which resembled a human building site for about six weeks.’
    • ‘The teenager was seen lying on the ground not moving and wearing a neck brace before ambulance crews took him away.’
    • ‘Nutritional supplements, braces, exercise, medication, and heel wedges are some of the new treatments available, according to the release.’
    • ‘Many children with cerebral palsy have problems that are in the middle range of severity and may need ongoing therapy and devices such as braces or wheelchairs.’
    • ‘There's a role for braces and other supporting devices when rehabilitating an injury.’
    • ‘I suddenly remembered my fall as they placed a neck brace on me, then my body on a backboard.’
    • ‘McAllan, who has just returned to the sport after being out for nearly a year following knee surgery, will spend the next six weeks in a body brace.’
    support, caliper, truss, surgical appliance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A strengthening piece of iron or timber used in building or carpentry.
      • ‘Moonlight spilled from the tower's crosshatched iron braces and, pooling at the foot of the steps, seemed to invite me up.’
      • ‘The gable braces along the exterior and the trim around all the windows help define the house.’
      • ‘Once the cap plate is in place you can remove the temporary braces.’
      • ‘For large repairs, build a wooden form and hold it in place with wooden braces, bricks, concrete blocks, or similar heavy objects.’
      • ‘Reposition the fabric-covered cornice and reattach the braces to the cornice.’
      • ‘When building the legs and braces that support your workbench, don't use finished lumber!’
      • ‘Place the cornice against the wall so it fits around the braces you installed when making the cornice.’
      • ‘If diagonal braces are attached to the window to keep it square, leave these in place until the window is installed.’
      • ‘Complete the main frame by adding the two handle braces, the plywood floor, the roost bar and the nest box.’
      • ‘Apply a bead of sealant on the backsplash, push the counter against the wall, and attach the top from below with screws installed through cabinet corner braces.’
      • ‘In addition buy a package of four corner braces.’
      • ‘Again, two crossbeams with camel's hump-shaped braces support the roof truss, and there is no king post.’
      • ‘Nail in the braces with 6 or 8-penny common nails; drive the nails halfway down so you can remove them easily later on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You may also consider installing poles across a portion of the ceiling for hanging plants, or employing wall braces.’
      • ‘All members with the exception of the collar ties and wind braces are mortised and tenoned together with long tapered pins that secure the joints.’
      • ‘Stiffening in the other vertical plane is added by diagonal braces between the lattice girders on both gable walls.’
      • ‘They were shackled to the metal braces of the building brace.’
      • ‘A short, stout man, solidly built like a timber brace came out the big tent with a flourish.’
      • ‘Attach braces to table top with 4-inch screws from below.’
      prop, beam, joist, batten, rod, post, pole, column, strut, stay, support, truss, reinforcement, buttress, shore, stanchion, bracket
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A wire device fitted in the mouth to straighten the teeth.
      • ‘This is more likely to happen if you find it difficult to clean your teeth properly, for example if you wear braces, have dentures or have irregularities in your teeth that you can't reach with a toothbrush.’
      • ‘Whether you're looking to perk up your tooth color or straighten without braces, there are more options now - for every budget - than ever before.’
      • ‘This is a frame with wires that come out of your mouth, attaching your brace to a headband.’
      • ‘What once was a symbol of preteen anguish - a mouth filled with metal wires and braces - has become a relic of the past.’
      • ‘Your child will be asked to put on a hospital gown and to remove any loose orthodontic braces, false teeth and jewellery.’
      • ‘Brackets, wires and braces can trap food and cause more plaque than usual to build up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My parents put braces on me to straighten my teeth, and in those days that was like wearing barbed wire in your mouth.’
      • ‘It is used for canker sores, mouth ulcers resulting from chemotherapy and irritation from braces or dentures.’
      • ‘This sounded like an urban legend at the time, but track writers agreed at the time that they had never seen so many adults suddenly wearing braces on their teeth.’
      • ‘Children whose teeth fall out early due to decay, may not have straight adult teeth and require a dental brace.’
      • ‘As a child, I had asthma, wore corrective shoes, had braces on my teeth, wore eyeglasses and was labeled as dyslexic.’
      • ‘We were both wearing braces on our teeth so let's just say it was shocking!’
      • ‘He comments on my smile, how straight my teeth are without braces, and how white they seem.’
      • ‘I suddenly felt embarrassed to have braces on my teeth.’
      • ‘And if you've had braces, wisdom teeth can make straight teeth crooked.’
      • ‘He dutifully screamed, exposing the braces gilding his teeth.’
      • ‘He was wearing glasses and had his hair spiked up, and Christy caught the glint of braces on his teeth.’
      • ‘Taller than the others, she had braces on her teeth.’
      • ‘When teeth are not lined up properly in the mouth, you may need to be fitted with a brace.’
    3. 1.3A drilling tool with a crank handle and a socket to hold a bit.
      • ‘He presented a broad overview of bit history and discussed many types of boring tools for the brace, including several types of bits.’
      • ‘The head on the bit braces should be mounted on the ball bearing so it will turn easier from the rest of the brace.’
      • ‘The tool also includes a means for rotating the cutting edge, usually using a brace or bit stock, a wrench, or a handle.’
      • ‘As with so many other pre-nineteenth century tools, we have much to learn about early braces, their designs, and their fabrication.’
      • ‘A Hudson brace and Gigli saw are used to perform a basic craniotomy, and the cost of these items is minimal compared to the cost of a power drill.’
      drill, drilling tool, boring tool, rotary tool
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4A rope attached to the yard of a ship for trimming the sail.
      • ‘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.’
  • 2British 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.

    • ‘It was the heady days of the late 1980s, the days of sharp suits, slicked back hair and red braces over striped shirts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The tight fitting black and white clothing is quite the opposite of the clowns colourful baggy trousers with braces, and giant floppy shoes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were bowler hats, striped shirts, braces, dress-suits and stilettos jostling past us on all species of worker, all entirely intent on their destination.’
    • ‘Half a dozen elderly men with huge trousers and big braces watched avidly, but with little emotion.’
    • ‘He is a typical city boy, red braces, no socks and plenty of arrogance.’
    • ‘I passed an old man wearing cloth cap and braces and riding a totally rusted bike.’
    • ‘At work he wears tailor-made suits, smart shirts and braces.’
    • ‘Today I went into town to purchase a pair of braces (the ones I got are in red) for a 4 year old.’
    • ‘Visit the store and you will find a wide range of shirts, socks, belts and braces to go with the trousers.’
    • ‘On the door was a man who looked like he was trying to emulate a 30s movie star - blue suit, very high pulled up trousers with red braces, round thick rimmed glasses, bald.’
    • ‘It goes beyond the cliche of the braces and striped shirts to expose a dangerous and compelling side to the world of international futures trading.’
    • ‘Farm labourers stand on top of the thrashing machine in shirt sleeves and braces, waiting for work to begin.’
    • ‘Then the scene changed to an office where a fat black police chief in shirt sleeves and braces was holding a polystyrene cup of coffee and cursing to himself.’
    • ‘He joked: ‘When I bought my new suit I needed braces to keep the trousers up - now they keep themselves up because I have put on a stone and a half.’’
    • ‘The display cabinets house socks, handkerchiefs, underwear, braces, belts - I am sure there are drawers and drawers of treasures beneath hiding away.’
    • ‘He's smiling, comfortable, in his sixties - wearing a whiter-than-white shirt, black braces looped over his shoulders.’
    • ‘He's wearing a white shirt with a stiff collar, black trousers with braces, and dancing shoes with leather spats.’
    • ‘He is wearing a chocolate brown moleskin suit, a dark shirt and tartan clip-on braces, one of which has come adrift.’
  • 3A pair of something, typically of birds or mammals killed in hunting.

    ‘thirty brace of grouse’
    • ‘The morning after he is nominated for a brace of Oscars (script and direction) for Vera Drake, Mike Leigh is holed up in an unremarkable office in a London side street.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A brace of £60,000 races highlight a cracking card at Haydock, where Time Ahead will surely take all the beating in the bet 365 Lancashire Oaks.’
    • ‘Early January also saw the birth of a brace of goats and a couple of antelopes.’
    • ‘The 31-year-old scored a brace of goals two seasons ago as Blues completed the double over their bitter rivals.’
    • ‘There's only one good way to cook a brace of coneys.’
    • ‘The gap was still one hole at the turn, after a brace of deuces at the short ninth from Westwood and Haas.’
    • ‘Ketheral looked around the inside of the armory, picked up a chainwhip, a normal whip, a brace of throwing knives, and a couple of shields.’
    • ‘Take one unpopular president, a brace of struggling statesmen and a couple of global summits.’
    • ‘I had a pretty dinner for them, viz. a brace of stewed carp, six roast chickens and a jowl of hot salmon.’
    • ‘There was a brace of hot, salty little birds to pick up and chew.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Having shown good pace all weekend, the speedy young Malaysian was understandably disappointed to come away from Thruxton with just a brace of 11 th place finishes.’
    • ‘Fishing a groundbait feeder, and alternating worm and red maggot hookbaits, he took a brace of skimmers plus three roach for his winning 3lb 15 oz.’
    • ‘She took Wolf's arm and inserted herself into a file of carts, getting in front of a brace of mules whose driver cursed her, but whose whip was too short to reach her neck.’
    • ‘A brace of ptarmigan flutter away for dear life.’
    • ‘The only other possible impediment to romping home with a brace of seats in the next general election would be if they were to be generally held responsible for the collapse of the peace process.’
    • ‘Writing throughout his sideman career, the guitarist found himself with a brace of songs that reflected not only his love of rock, but also his interest in other types of music.’
    • ‘While Breen, fresh from a brace of wins last weekend, made the seven-horse jump-off, two down with Old Town Katie ensured he did not augment his points tally.’
    • ‘Kieran O'Callaghan added a brace of points, but Monaleen were determined to have the last say, with Pat Carroll and Dave McAuliffe finding their range.’
    pair, couple, duo, twosome, duology
    View synonyms
  • 4Printing
    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.

    • ‘These breaksite hotspot clusters are indicated by braces in Fig 3.’
    • ‘Chapter 1 covers what a LaTeX command does - the meaning of all those backslashes and curly braces.’
    • ‘Whatever you choose, put the appropriate word between curly braces.’
    • ‘This is shown in Figure 7 with the brace indicating the route segment with shorter signpost spacings.’
    • ‘Seldom used in ordinary writing, brace or curly brackets are common in mathematics and other formulaic usage, where they serve to enclose complex sets of symbols.’
    • ‘The 10 proposed novel evolutionary groups are indicated by braces to the right of the groups.’
    • ‘Note that parentheses indicate faces, whereas braces indicate forms.’
    bracket, parenthesis
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1Music A similar mark connecting staves to be performed at the same time.
      • ‘Putting a bunch of music expressions (e.g., notes) in braces means that they should be played in sequence.’
      • ‘The following illustrates barlines, brackets, and braces with a large orchestra that includes a piano soloist.’


  • 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’
    • ‘The post and lintel were just frames for a set of double door gates wrought of thick lumber and braced with iron.’
    • ‘The Duramount is a laminate mounted onto a smooth, thin board which is then braced with a sturdy, lightweight wood frame on the back.’
    • ‘Columns are attached to the walls by a system of horizontal tensile wires, so as to brace the entire structure against earthquake forces.’
    • ‘Possibly because of its reduced width, the jaw apparatus is more strongly braced in the center.’
    • ‘Angled legs prevent the arch from flattening and the structure is further braced by four cross frames which also accommodate cross walls.’
    • ‘The piles were tarred ironbark and the beams were kauri with iron brackets to brace them.’
    • ‘The grid acts as stiffening element, bracing the structure against seismic forces.’
    • ‘Can the furniture be used in the fight (and if so, must it be braced or reinforced?)’
    • ‘A tilt-up concrete shear wall braces a wood-frame structure, and a steel frame supports the cantilever.’
    • ‘Samyn's lightweight version is braced by a network of tensile cables.’
    • ‘Weak corner joints may be braced with angle irons, and triangles of wood.’
    • ‘Light seismic frames brace the existing concrete structure with minimal disruption of the original space or the soil below.’
    • ‘The frame is braced with a steel support to preserve its integrity, and then the destructive fun begins.’
    • ‘It is much stronger than the rest of the hull, often reinforced with extra ribs bracing the inside.’
    • ‘To support the areas with higher slab thicknesses, additional MEP gates were used to brace the post shores so they could be charged with higher loads.’
    • ‘The channels are braced back to the structure with aluminum clips where required to resist wind pressure.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
    1. 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’
      • ‘The world spun as he staggered to his feet, braced himself on a post, and tried his utmost to shake off his daze.’
      • ‘By twisting her body and bracing her legs to counteract the momentum, she barely managed to prevent herself from falling face-first onto the hard, grimy pavement.’
      • ‘Her legs were in a ridiculous bunch at the edge of her bed, while her arms groped blindly for a sturdy surface to brace her body.’
      • ‘The top of the pillar was about chest length and I braced a trembling hand flat on the surface before putting the other one next to it.’
      • ‘He braced his legs and stood up as the rush began.’
      • ‘Sit in the machine with your back braced against the support and your feet placed under the cushions.’
      • ‘He went to the table and braced himself, palms flat against the rough wood.’
      • ‘He spread his legs and braced his feet in the sand to stay upright.’
      • ‘He braced his shaking body against the wall and forced his legs to defy gravity and support him one last time.’
      • ‘I suggest he brace his leg against the wall so he doesn't fall over on the turn.’
      • ‘She stood with her hands braced firmly on her hips.’
      • ‘An afternoon spent in the Landmannalaugar region of Iceland involved bracing myself against a strong wind.’
      • ‘He stumbled and only saved himself from falling down a second time by bracing himself on the alley wall.’
      • ‘Additionally, the stirrups can be useful before the impact, to brace the rider more firmly against the cantle.’
      • ‘For preacher curls, my body is braced in position, so I don't use body motion.’
      • ‘Above him was the strong willow's branch, he braced his feet against the trunk behind him, and pushed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Your form will be challenged because only one side of your body is performing the movements, while the other side is in a very different position, bracing your body.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rose of Sharon braced her body against the movements of the car in an effort to protect her fetus.’
      steady, secure, stabilize, fix, make fast, prop, poise
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Prepare (someone) for something difficult or unpleasant.
      ‘both stations are bracing themselves for job losses’
      • ‘The area is bracing itself for an extravaganza of traditional entertainment with hundreds of thousands of people converging on the area next weekend for the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil.’
      • ‘But we should probably brace ourselves for further tales from the dark side as supporters, players and officials merge into a mindless mass.’
      • ‘With a strong determination, she braced herself and headed out of the dim alley and into the morning sun.’
      • ‘It is rare three such opportunities to buy into Rosemount arrive at once and the Brechin office of selling agent FPDSavills is bracing itself for a strong demand.’
      • ‘Along with most of my neighbors in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, I was braced for the presidential transition.’
      • ‘So it's time to put my strong head on, brace myself and get on with the matter in hand of hopefully offering some support where I can.’
      • ‘Post offices are bracing for a stampede of last-minute filers.’
      • ‘The Government and pro-referendum supporters had a Nice day yesterday as the country braced itself for a winter of discontent - weather wise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So we were braced for hostile reactions, but it all went off pretty smoothly.’
      • ‘The night passed peacefully at Bradford Royal Infirmary, although staff were braced for a traditionally busy one.’
      • ‘Ministers are braced for a backlash from business leaders who fear they will be saddled with older workers whom they cannot ask to leave.’
      • ‘After seven preparatory years and legions of cautionary tales, you'd have to say we were braced for it.’
      • ‘Then they went home and played the accursed thing, and second-hand shops nationwide braced themselves for the deluge.’
      • ‘Hampshire was today bracing itself to bear the brunt of fuel protests.’
      • ‘York Nestlé workers are braced for industrial action after rejecting a pay offer, it was revealed today.’
      • ‘Pakistan's mountain people are braced for another terrible test.’
      • ‘Given workers' strong feelings on this issue, management may need to brace itself for a bumpy ride.’
      • ‘Seldom has a stock market correction crept up with such stealth, and struck before we were braced for the pain.’
      • ‘I even used celery - normally something I can't stand, but I braced myself and figured it would help bring the flavors together.’
      prepare, get ready, make ready, gear up, nerve, steel, galvanize, gird, strengthen, fortify, bolster, buttress
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • brace up

    • Be strong or courageous.

      ‘she was about to tell him to brace up’
      • ‘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.