Definition of bracket in English:



  • 1Each of a pair of marks ( ) [ ] { } 〈 〉 used to enclose words or figures so as to separate them from the context.

    ‘symbols are given in brackets’
    • ‘The numbers according to the older 64-section scheme are given in brackets though not used.’
    • ‘The third column contains pitch pairs in brackets.’
    • ‘The words in brackets, ‘ignoring the possibility of an appeal out of time with permission’, point to such an application being different in kind.’
    • ‘In this and subsequent figures, brackets identify major groups of seed plants.’
    • ‘Suddenly, nicely rounded figures like e19,000 were appearing in the price columns, with the figure in punts in brackets adjoining.’
    • ‘The figures in brackets are the maximum to which the ship can be upgraded.’
    • ‘Some of the dates listed are separated by brackets and are a good illustration of the various contradictory claims made by members of the Abashiri group.’
    • ‘If members look at the clause, they will see that it has the word ‘New’ written there, then, in brackets, the word ‘unanimous’.’
    • ‘In the following summary a coupling ratio of 4 has been used with the figures in brackets corresponding to a coupling ratio of 4.7.’
    • ‘If we take the words in brackets which are not contested, that leaves really two points in the section.’
    • ‘So is it possible to get real outcomes when we're talking about so many people, so many words, so many brackets around sentences and the like?’
    • ‘The numbers in brackets are the marks that were written in the margins of the Gersaint catalog.’
    • ‘For a literal translation of the Ahadith, the words within brackets should be omitted.’
    • ‘For each of the top poets, the number of votes obtained is given in brackets after his or her place number.’
    • ‘The words in brackets indicate the opinion presented by the computer in Versions 2 & 4.’
    • ‘The figures in brackets identify the UK's ten biggest mortgage lenders.’
    • ‘The figures in brackets are arrived at classifying the most common Italian openings into these three groups.’
    • ‘Total available marks are given in brackets, followed by the marks actually awarded.’
    • ‘How refreshing it is to see that most of the adverts for farmland are given in acres often with the hectarage given in brackets.’
    • ‘One of the fibers that compose the TDT is marked with a bracket.’
    parenthesis, brace
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  • 2[with adjective or noun modifier] A category of people or things that are similar or fall between specified limits.

    ‘those in a high income bracket’
    • ‘As at the last election, one percent of voters had active party membership, with the biggest age bracket listed as those over 60.’
    • ‘The defendant in my view lacked frankness in the witness box and I can understand Mr Banner's submission on behalf of the Secretary of State that this is an upper bracket case and I tend to lean to that view.’
    • ‘South Africa and Pakistan rate amongst the top bracket teams in both forms of the game.’
    • ‘Top bracket taxpayers can earn 7% with National Savings.’
    • ‘Replying to a question, Khalidi said Muslims in the US are a highly educated group and fall in the high-income bracket.’
    • ‘The Bamfords have stopped contributing directly to the Tory party, although free helicopter and plane rides fall into the bracket of payments in kind.’
    • ‘Michael Chabon, author of Wonder Boys, is careful to place his Summerland within the new and lucrative publishing bracket of ‘all ages’.’
    • ‘There's a lot of welterweight prospects coming through at the moment, like Matthew Macklin and David Barnes, people who Matthew deserves to be classed in that same bracket with.’
    • ‘With the obtaining high poverty levels and the consequent growing number of people falling into the vulnerable bracket, it would be grave to lose the support of co-operating partners.’
    • ‘About 800,000 Irish women fall into that age bracket.’
    • ‘The Rockwell, also in Earls Court, is another newcomer falling into the bed-and-brasserie bracket.’
    • ‘And the 17-24 age bracket accounts for about one in four accidents on Britain's roads, despite representing only one in six drivers.’
    • ‘Agar said: ‘Chris falls into the same bracket as the three who've already come in.’’
    • ‘The new Athlon XP-M 2100 + falls into the low-power bracket for thin-and-light notebooks that require a cooler processor.’
    • ‘There will always be leaders and followers and it has to be said that Explosions in the Sky fall into the second bracket.’
    • ‘I don't think a person's economic bracket ought to be a dating criterion, especially since it isn't causing a problem between the two of us.’
    • ‘Only Craig Forsyth, who has been on the bench three times, falls into the same bracket.’
    • ‘The result was simple: the chances of a child from a poor family making it into the highest income bracket fell by 40 per cent.’
    • ‘For tax planning purposes, a general partnership can be a useful method of diverting income from high bracket parents to their children.’
    • ‘This is not just another way of looking at self-identification by class, or economic bracket, or being in the in crowd.’
    group, grouping, category, categorization, grade, grading, classification, class, set, section, division, order, batch, cohort, list
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  • 3A right-angled support attached to a wall for holding a shelf, lamp, or other object.

    • ‘Check the deal you are offered, as wall mounting brackets can add several hundred euro to an attractive price.’
    • ‘He himself had tiny concerns about the accuracy of his numbers and the possibility that the weight and limited angular freedom of the supporting brackets would somehow cause a problem.’
    • ‘The combination of features were that you have a wall bracket which is U-shaped, it screws directly onto a wall, and then there is a support bracket, also U-shaped, which folds down.’
    • ‘At the top of the stairwell were two great wooden doors, possibly with some sort of carving on them, though it was hard to see in the dim half-light cast by the torches, which hung in brackets along the walls.’
    • ‘Use wall mounted baskets attached to shelf brackets for an attractive shelf that can hold bathroom supplies or home office paperwork.’
    • ‘We are reviewing all the brackets which support the lights to assess whether they are acceptable.’
    • ‘It is ornately Victorian in design and comes with a pair of brackets so that it can be attached to a wall.’
    • ‘A bracket on the wall beside a window, still with its adjustment screw, remains of where Gregory's telescope was set up.’
    • ‘She had even taken the precaution of chaining the baskets to brackets on the outside wall of her house, but the thieves still managed to take them.’
    • ‘On the center lamp the decorative arm brackets are modeled on both sides.’
    • ‘The C&O used portable dual Mars lights on the forward end of its RDC's, hanging them on a bracket attached to the door and powered via an extension cord.’
    • ‘Aside from these there were some miscellaneous mounting brackets / supports, thermal compound, and some screws.’
    • ‘One of York's free-standing gas lamps in the small road off Lawrence Street was to be replaced with an up-to-date electric mercury discharge lamp attached to a wall bracket.’
    • ‘There was a firepit for warmth in Winter, and brackets on the white-painted walls which held oil lamps.’
    • ‘An adhesive strip on the back wall attaches the bracket to the support surface.’
    • ‘Two unlit torches were attached to brackets in the wall either side of the sacred flame.’
    • ‘This corridor was lit only be well-spaced torches burning in brackets on the walls, rather than the ornate oil lamps that hung from the ceilings of the more public parts of the palace.’
    • ‘Even failure to fix a loose slate, or remove a wall bracket for hanging flowers could land a homeowner behind bars, according to official warnings sent to householders in Co Meath.’
    • ‘The store would be one of only a handful across the country selling shelves, brackets and other DIY items throughout the night.’
    • ‘The seven companions were left in silence - the only light stuttering from oily torches in brackets along the walls, as there were no windows.’
    support, prop, stay, batten, joist, buttress
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  • 4Military
    The distance between two artillery shots fired either side of the target to establish range.

    • ‘In the hope of obtaining a rapid and overwhelming fire, the French artillery ranges only for a long bracket.’
    • ‘The front edges of all example target units are within the same range bracket, and unit A is the main target.’
  • 5US A diagram representing the sequence of matches in a sports tournament, especially as used for making predictions about its outcome.

    ‘with the March Madness tournament half the fun is filling out your bracket’
    • ‘I think we can agree the ease of the FSU bracket will get them a spot in the Super Regional.’
    • ‘In the loser's bracket, I think it's a coin flip.’
    • ‘It's not surprising that both of us pick Tulane to win Bracket 2 as they have been atop many rankings for a long time.’
    • ‘The right side of the College World Series brackets has been finalized.’
    • ‘Here's a look at all the clubs in bracket two …’
    • ‘If you have a team left on the St. Louis bracket other than Georgia Tech we are extremely impressed …’
    • ‘We will begin our two-part preview with bracket one, which kicked things off yesterday with Florida and Nebraska picking up victories.’
    • ‘Fill out your brackets yet?’
    • ‘We don't know about you, but after a ridiculous weekend of hoop, our brackets are a mess.’
    • ‘In the AFC, the Jets and Broncos can round out the bracket by beating St. Louis and Indy, respectively.’
    • ‘We'd be more psyched about the Manhattan win if well over half of our pool hadn't picked that bracket.’
    • ‘Was the Sweet 16 bittersweet or oh-so-good for your brackets?’
  • 6British informal, dated A person's nose or jaw.

    ‘a quick punch up the bracket’
    • ‘It can be a relatively mild insult among friends, you should avoid saying it to strangers unless you want a smack in the mush or a punch up the bracket.’
    • ‘I didn’t know, my dad used to say it to me, “You need a good punch up the bracket!”’


  • 1Enclose (words or figures) in brackets.

    ‘the relevant data is included as bracketed points’
    • ‘He dutifully read his speech from start to finish and when he came to the conclusion, his speechwriter had bracketed an instruction for him to now ‘pull the cord’.’
    • ‘Arrowhead indicates muscle DT1, arrow indicates LT4, and LT1-3 are bracketed.’
    • ‘Indeed Florio, in his dictionary of 1598, bracketed the two terms when he wrote: ‘a kinde of clouted cream called a foole or a trifle.’’
    • ‘Sometimes she would bracket a passage at the beginning and the end.’
    • ‘Having bracketed the term, the author reverts to the word ‘lesbian’ in describing these Sapphic moderns throughout the text.’
    • ‘I quote this short poem in full (the bracketed letters, which refer the reader to Scriptural verses listed in the margins, are reproduced from the original text).’
    • ‘My mother would immediately take out a pencil and bracket familiar names.’
    • ‘It should be noted that the partial manuscript was laser printed, and it included several handwritten remarks, which I have bracketed.’
    • ‘Perl code can be placed inside a component, bracketed by <% and% >.’
    • ‘With the illustrations the situation is worse, for they are not numbered or listed anywhere, and there is no indication of any kind, marginal or bracketed, of the figure corresponding to a description in the text.’
    • ‘In what follows the LM's lections will be bracketed, but the RCL ones not, although it brackets the numerals of its Proper Sundays.’
    • ‘Indeed, I have bracketed the word ‘study’ with quote marks throughout this column because the word ‘survey’ seems more appropriate.’
    1. 1.1Mathematics Enclose (a complex expression) in brackets to denote that the whole of the expression rather than just a part of it has a particular relation, such as multiplication or division, to another expression.
      • ‘At each stage, we bracket together the symbols with the lowest probabilities, and re-order the list.’
      • ‘The optimal value we are searching for is bracketed between a and b, and M is the point with the highest function value found so far.’
    2. 1.2Put (a belief or matter) aside temporarily.
      ‘he bracketed off the question of God himself’
      • ‘He contended that bracketing enables one to objectively describe the phenomena under study.’
      • ‘The interviewer, who was trained in coding procedures, both transcribed and coded the interviews, taking care to bracket her personal biases and beliefs.’
      • ‘Those inclined to seek out a kind of mutuality among religious traditions have, in a sense, bracketed any highly dogmatic understanding of Christ.’
      • ‘No matter from which angle we analyze this theme, the other angles can never be completely bracketed out.’
      • ‘However, for the sake of this inquiry, it is necessary to bracket any Pauline understanding of justification.’
      • ‘All positing of the real, as opposed to the intentional, existence of the world must be bracketed.’
      • ‘That said, at some point timeliness and public import must be bracketed for an evaluation of the book's contributions to theory, method, and substantive work in the sociology of religion.’
      • ‘Rather, it has been bracketed in the interests of examining or critiquing matters of authenticity and legitimacy in respect of what is claimed as part of a specifically indigenous past.’
      • ‘Temporarily bracketing the rather ominous perspective that Shaviro brings to this sense of connection, we find that networks involve a different kind of habitation in the social field.’
      • ‘They bracket the most important questions, the political, legal, and cultural questions that ought to lead Americans to reject state killing.’
      • ‘Yet I found myself bracketing off various encounters, like the one with the taxi driver above, and refusing those experiences entry into the frame of my analysis.’
      • ‘The demands of ordinary fellow feeling and conventional morality can be bracketed in service of the great sacred cause.’
      • ‘In our encounters with world music, aesthetic issues cannot be isolated and bracketed off.’
      • ‘The scholars' doctrinal underpinnings can be bracketed and later assessed when critical methods of examining biblical texts are shared across denominational and inter-religious lines.’
      • ‘But the latter, too, is bracketed off, no less surely and to Stead's greater cost.’
      • ‘Content is bracketed off and/or made subordinate to form.’
      • ‘Targets for increasing foreign aid and protecting wildlife are opposed, and huge sections of text on the clashes between environmental protection and free trade remain bracketed.’
      • ‘Hitherto neglected objects and unseen dangers suddenly swim into obscene visibility, human priorities are bracketed off, replaced by a world organised around the imperatives of canine or insect existence.’
      • ‘But because they're paid, because they're essentially advertisements, we also tend to tune them out, or at least bracket them off in our minds.’
      • ‘For instance, the words ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ which were coined in Rio as the basis for North-South partnership were all bracketed, which means they have not been agreed upon.’
  • 2Place (one or more people or things) in the same category or group.

    ‘he is sometimes bracketed with the ‘new wave’ of film directors’
    • ‘How about being widely bracketed in doubles betting with all the other leading candidates in next Saturday's Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup?’
    • ‘‘He's just come out of the juniors and already he is being bracketed in the same league as Muhammad Ali,’ he said.’
    • ‘Bizarre to record, after all that ‘plunder’ talk he seems to think that ‘promised foreign investment’ is a good thing, to be bracketed with peace and all.’
    • ‘They argued that voluntary clubs, like charities, should not be bracketed alongside profit-making businesses when it comes to rates valuations.’
    • ‘Portugal cannot simply be bracketed alongside the two other sides that the Africans will play in Germany.’
    • ‘They can be bracketed with Canada, the only side Scotland have beaten in 14 friendlies under Vogts.’
    • ‘If the company is unwilling to raise prices, it needs to be clearer about why it should be bracketed alongside other premium brands in consumers' eyes.’
    • ‘This prize was jointly awarded to Maclaurin, Euler and Daniel Bernoulli, bracketing Maclaurin with the top two mathematicians of his day.’
    • ‘Pray, what has the BJP done in domestic or foreign policy to not be bracketed in the same league as its political opponents?’
    • ‘Terse, spare, laconic, elliptic; at its sharpest it is comparable with Hemingway's, a writer with whom Hammett is often bracketed.’
    • ‘I don't think he, a respectable Conservative chairman of a Parish Council, was too pleased at being bracketed with a Stalinist!’
    • ‘York has its own special identity and should not be bracketed with Leeds, the city's Labour MP Hugh Bayley has told the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly.’
    • ‘He should be bracketed with dictators as Hitler and Stalin for crimes against humanity.’
    • ‘Burger's presence on the drive and his allround work-rate will also be crucial to the Boks as they go out to prove they deserve to be bracketed with their great southern rivals in the top two of world rugby two years out from the next World Cup.’
    • ‘He was the subject of hagiographies in many languages, and was often bracketed along with Bismarck, Gladstone and Salisbury in the pantheon of world statesmen.’
    • ‘Quite soon the word will be hitting the Rough Guides, the late departures, the online travel sites and eventually we'll be bracketed up there with Scandinavia as a really expensive destination.’
    • ‘But while he is respectful of his former Leicester teammates, he hated being bracketed as an ‘impact player’.’
    • ‘The spread of negligence liability would not have to result in the broadening of the traditional category of mens rea, and would not mean that intention, recklessness, and negligence would henceforth be bracketed together.’
    • ‘Previous studies had suggested that people automatically bracket one another in terms of race, sex and age.’
    • ‘So much has the Nazi period become the incarnation of evil that even suggesting that other absolutisms, including extreme racist nationalisms, can be bracketed with it seems to diminish the horror of the Third Reich.’
    group, classify, class, categorize, grade, list, sort, set, place, assign
    couple, pair, twin, yoke, put together, set side by side, regard as the same, regard as identical, liken, compare
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  • 3Hold or attach (something) by means of a right-angled support.

    ‘pipes should be bracketed’
    • ‘You may need to remove this hose - it is bracketed to the side of the engine and bolted to the power steering pump.’
    • ‘The bracketed shelf above the door was probably a later addition, as were the Doric columns flanking the sidelights.’
    • ‘The only known blowers use a complex flexible rubber conduit assembly that needs to be bracketed and clamped at its outlet end to maintain its appropriate position.’
  • 4Military
    Establish the range of (a target) by firing two preliminary shots, one short of the target and the other beyond it.

    • ‘You stand up, which is the exhilarating part, to see the fall of shot; then you adjust - add, drop, left, right - till you have the target bracketed.’
    • ‘So we're probably going to have to shoot a number of them to bracket spatially the area where we need to target it so it will fall where we want it to fall.’
    1. 4.1Photography Establish (the correct exposure) by taking several pictures with slightly more or less exposure.
      ‘it's always best to bracket your exposures’
      • ‘I normally bracket each exposure at least one stop in both directions (underexposure and overexposure).’
      • ‘Remember that infrared film is experimental, so bracket your exposures and be sure to have your film processed by a lab that has worked with infrared before.’
      • ‘For insurance, bracket the exposure by using different shutter speeds.’
      • ‘No matter which method you choose to use, it is always a good idea to bracket your exposure.’
      • ‘Fix your focus at a range that will fill the lens with shark, then remember to bracket your exposures in all the excitement!’


Late 16th century: from French braguette or Spanish bragueta codpiece, bracket, corbel, from Provençal braga, from Latin braca, (plural) bracae breeches.