One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of a number of prickly scrambling shrubs, especially a wild rose.
Genus Rosa, family Rosaceae: several species, including the Eurasian sweet briar (R. rubiginosa)
- ‘Glen smiled at the thought of a dirty forest with trees, briars, and wild animals.’
- ‘Immediately, Maria snatched her hand back quicker than if it had just come into contact with a briar bush.’
- ‘Throughout this long afternoon, we remained motionless in the briar patch.’
- ‘‘You're not stupid,’ Bella continued, speaking more to the rose briars than to him.’
- ‘On one side lay a patch of endless briars on the other a 20 ft drop to the sharp rocks and unbridled sea below.’
Old English brǣr, brēr, of unknown origin.
1A tobacco pipe made from woody nodules borne at ground level by a large woody plant of the heather family.
tobacco pipe, briar pipe, meerschaum, clay pipeView synonyms
- ‘The Centenier finished his coffee, while Holmes selected and filled his briar pipe.’
- ‘Every man present had filled his clay or briar pipes with good Virginia tobacco.’
- ‘The briar pipe continued to epitomise solid, dependable, common sense masculinity.’
2The tree heath, which bears the nodules from which briar pipes are made.
Mid 19th century: from French bruyère ‘heath, heather’, from medieval Latin brucus.
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