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’
    • ‘There can be problems with the length of time your child is required to wear the brace and the embarrassment it may cause.’
    • ‘Specialist equipment such as splints, callipers and braces can help with paralysis and contractures.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He called 911 and they came immediately, placing a brace around my neck and put my lifeless body on a board.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Knee braces are supports that you wear for a painful or injured knee.’
    • ‘There's a role for braces and other supporting devices when rehabilitating an injury.’
    • ‘Traditional and conservative treatments include bed rest, ice followed by heat therapy, medication regimens, braces, and physical therapy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The teenager was seen lying on the ground not moving and wearing a neck brace before ambulance crews took him away.’
    • ‘As the paramedics lifted his body onto the stretcher and applied a neck brace Kim was held back by the police.’
    • ‘Nutritional supplements, braces, exercise, medication, and heel wedges are some of the new treatments available, according to the release.’
    • ‘Pain medicines, back braces, and physical therapy may also be used.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Wearing a neck brace because of chronic back pain, Anwar walked into his home with dozens of police and prison guards.’
    • ‘I had a halo brace fitted to my body basically, which resembled a human building site for about six weeks.’
    • ‘I suddenly remembered my fall as they placed a neck brace on me, then my body on a backboard.’
    • ‘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.’
    support, caliper, truss, surgical appliance
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A strengthening piece of iron or timber used in building or carpentry.
      • ‘The gable braces along the exterior and the trim around all the windows help define the house.’
      • ‘Nail in the braces with 6 or 8-penny common nails; drive the nails halfway down so you can remove them easily later on.’
      • ‘You may also consider installing poles across a portion of the ceiling for hanging plants, or employing wall braces.’
      • ‘Place the cornice against the wall so it fits around the braces you installed when making the cornice.’
      • ‘Once the cap plate is in place you can remove the temporary braces.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Again, two crossbeams with camel's hump-shaped braces support the roof truss, and there is no king post.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A short, stout man, solidly built like a timber brace came out the big tent with a flourish.’
      • ‘When building the legs and braces that support your workbench, don't use finished lumber!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Reposition the fabric-covered cornice and reattach the braces to the cornice.’
      • ‘For large repairs, build a wooden form and hold it in place with wooden braces, bricks, concrete blocks, or similar heavy objects.’
      • ‘In addition buy a package of four corner braces.’
      • ‘Moonlight spilled from the tower's crosshatched iron braces and, pooling at the foot of the steps, seemed to invite me up.’
      • ‘Complete the main frame by adding the two handle braces, the plywood floor, the roost bar and the nest box.’
      • ‘Attach braces to table top with 4-inch screws from below.’
      • ‘If diagonal braces are attached to the window to keep it square, leave these in place until the window is installed.’
      prop, beam, joist, batten, rod, post, pole, column, strut, stay, support, truss, reinforcement, buttress, shore, stanchion, bracket
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2also braces A wire device fitted in the mouth to straighten the teeth.
      • ‘He was wearing glasses and had his hair spiked up, and Christy caught the glint of braces on his teeth.’
      • ‘And if you've had braces, wisdom teeth can make straight teeth crooked.’
      • ‘It is used for canker sores, mouth ulcers resulting from chemotherapy and irritation from braces or dentures.’
      • ‘He comments on my smile, how straight my teeth are without braces, and how white they seem.’
      • ‘My parents put braces on me to straighten my teeth, and in those days that was like wearing barbed wire in your mouth.’
      • ‘We were both wearing braces on our teeth so let's just say it was shocking!’
      • ‘What once was a symbol of preteen anguish - a mouth filled with metal wires and braces - has become a relic of the past.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When teeth are not lined up properly in the mouth, you may need to be fitted with a brace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Taller than the others, she had braces on her teeth.’
      • ‘He dutifully screamed, exposing the braces gilding his 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.’
      • ‘This is a frame with wires that come out of your mouth, attaching your brace to a headband.’
      • ‘Your child will be asked to put on a hospital gown and to remove any loose orthodontic braces, false teeth and jewellery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I suddenly felt embarrassed to have braces on my teeth.’
      • ‘Brackets, wires and braces can trap food and cause more plaque than usual to build up.’
      • ‘As a child, I had asthma, wore corrective shoes, had braces on my teeth, wore eyeglasses and was labeled as dyslexic.’
    3. 1.3 A drilling tool with a crank handle and a socket to hold a bit.
      • ‘The tool also includes a means for rotating the cutting edge, usually using a brace or bit stock, a wrench, or a handle.’
      • ‘He presented a broad overview of bit history and discussed many types of boring tools for the brace, including several types of bits.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The head on the bit braces should be mounted on the ball bearing so it will turn easier from the rest of the brace.’
      drill, drilling tool, boring tool, rotary tool
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A 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.’
  • 2bracesBritish 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.

    North American term suspenders
    • ‘It was the heady days of the late 1980s, the days of sharp suits, slicked back hair and red braces over striped shirts.’
    • ‘Today I went into town to purchase a pair of braces (the ones I got are in red) for a 4 year old.’
    • ‘At work he wears tailor-made suits, smart shirts and braces.’
    • ‘He's wearing a white shirt with a stiff collar, black trousers with braces, and dancing shoes with leather spats.’
    • ‘I passed an old man wearing cloth cap and braces and riding a totally rusted bike.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 tight fitting black and white clothing is quite the opposite of the clowns colourful baggy trousers with braces, and giant floppy shoes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Half a dozen elderly men with huge trousers and big braces watched avidly, but with little emotion.’
    • ‘Farm labourers stand on top of the thrashing machine in shirt sleeves and braces, waiting for work to begin.’
    • ‘He's smiling, comfortable, in his sixties - wearing a whiter-than-white shirt, black braces looped over his shoulders.’
    • ‘He is wearing a chocolate brown moleskin suit, a dark shirt and tartan clip-on braces, one of which has come adrift.’
    • ‘The display cabinets house socks, handkerchiefs, underwear, braces, belts - I am sure there are drawers and drawers of treasures beneath hiding away.’
    • ‘He is a typical city boy, red braces, no socks and plenty of arrogance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3A pair of something, typically of birds or mammals killed in hunting.

    ‘thirty brace of grouse’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Early January also saw the birth of a brace of goats and a couple of antelopes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The 31-year-old scored a brace of goals two seasons ago as Blues completed the double over their bitter rivals.’
    • ‘Take one unpopular president, a brace of struggling statesmen and a couple of global summits.’
    • ‘The gap was still one hole at the turn, after a brace of deuces at the short ninth from Westwood and Haas.’
    • ‘There's only one good way to cook a brace of coneys.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was a brace of hot, salty little birds to pick up and chew.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A brace of ptarmigan flutter away for dear life.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had a pretty dinner for them, viz. a brace of stewed carp, six roast chickens and a jowl of hot salmon.’
    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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Whatever you choose, put the appropriate word between curly braces.’
    • ‘The 10 proposed novel evolutionary groups are indicated by braces to the right of the groups.’
    • ‘This is shown in Figure 7 with the brace indicating the route segment with shorter signpost spacings.’
    • ‘Chapter 1 covers what a LaTeX command does - the meaning of all those backslashes and curly braces.’
    • ‘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.
      • ‘The following illustrates barlines, brackets, and braces with a large orchestra that includes a piano soloist.’
      • ‘Putting a bunch of music expressions (e.g., notes) in braces means that they should be played in sequence.’


  • 1with object Make (a structure) stronger or firmer with wood, iron, or other forms of support.

    ‘the posts were braced by lengths of timber’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Angled legs prevent the arch from flattening and the structure is further braced by four cross frames which also accommodate cross walls.’
    • ‘Can the furniture be used in the fight (and if so, must it be braced or reinforced?)’
    • ‘The Duramount is a laminate mounted onto a smooth, thin board which is then braced with a sturdy, lightweight wood frame on the back.’
    • ‘The piles were tarred ironbark and the beams were kauri with iron brackets to brace them.’
    • ‘Columns are attached to the walls by a system of horizontal tensile wires, so as to brace the entire structure against earthquake forces.’
    • ‘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 post and lintel were just frames for a set of double door gates wrought of thick lumber and braced with iron.’
    • ‘Weak corner joints may be braced with angle irons, and triangles of wood.’
    • ‘A tilt-up concrete shear wall braces a wood-frame structure, and a steel frame supports the cantilever.’
    • ‘Possibly because of its reduced width, the jaw apparatus is more strongly braced in the center.’
    • ‘Full-height, double-glazed sheets brace the structure and barely divide interior from exterior.’
    • ‘The grid acts as stiffening element, bracing the structure against seismic forces.’
    • ‘It is much stronger than the rest of the hull, often reinforced with extra ribs bracing the inside.’
    • ‘Samyn's lightweight version is braced by a network of tensile cables.’
    • ‘The channels are braced back to the structure with aluminum clips where required to resist wind pressure.’
    support, shore up, prop up, hold up, buttress, carry, bear, underpin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Press (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’
      • ‘For preacher curls, my body is braced in position, so I don't use body motion.’
      • ‘He spread his legs and braced his feet in the sand to stay upright.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He braced his shaking body against the wall and forced his legs to defy gravity and support him one last time.’
      • ‘Additionally, the stirrups can be useful before the impact, to brace the rider more firmly against the cantle.’
      • ‘He stumbled and only saved himself from falling down a second time by bracing himself on the alley wall.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The world spun as he staggered to his feet, braced himself on a post, and tried his utmost to shake off his daze.’
      • ‘He braced his legs and stood up as the rush began.’
      • ‘He went to the table and braced himself, palms flat against the rough wood.’
      • ‘An afternoon spent in the Landmannalaugar region of Iceland involved bracing myself against a strong wind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rose of Sharon braced her body against the movements of the car in an effort to protect her fetus.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sit in the machine with your back braced against the support and your feet placed under the cushions.’
      • ‘She stood with her hands braced firmly on her hips.’
      • ‘Above him was the strong willow's branch, he braced his feet against the trunk behind him, and pushed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I suggest he brace his leg against the wall so he doesn't fall over on the turn.’
      steady, secure, stabilize, fix, make fast, prop, poise
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Prepare (someone) for something difficult or unpleasant.
      ‘both stations are bracing themselves for job losses’
      • ‘Pakistan's mountain people are braced for another terrible test.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Seldom has a stock market correction crept up with such stealth, and struck before we were braced for the pain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The night passed peacefully at Bradford Royal Infirmary, although staff were braced for a traditionally busy one.’
      • ‘I even used celery - normally something I can't stand, but I braced myself and figured it would help bring the flavors together.’
      • ‘Given workers' strong feelings on this issue, management may need to brace itself for a bumpy ride.’
      • ‘Post offices are bracing for a stampede of last-minute filers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Along with most of my neighbors in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, I was braced for the presidential transition.’
      • ‘The Government and pro-referendum supporters had a Nice day yesterday as the country braced itself for a winter of discontent - weather wise.’
      • ‘With a strong determination, she braced herself and headed out of the dim alley and into the morning sun.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘York Nestlé workers are braced for industrial action after rejecting a pay offer, it was revealed today.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But we should probably brace ourselves for further tales from the dark side as supporters, players and officials merge into a mindless mass.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.