Definition of brother in English:



  • 1A man or boy in relation to other sons and daughters of his parents.

    ‘he recognized her from her strong resemblance to her brother’
    • ‘But while his parents and brothers are dead, five cousins have now been contacted, allowing the long-lost airman finally to be laid to rest in Scotland.’
    • ‘The brothers ' biological parents had been physically abusive and neglectful.’
    • ‘If she won the £100,000 prize for the Miss World competition she would move with her three older brothers and parents to Cyprus where the family often go on holiday.’
    • ‘Traveling with my parents, my brothers and sister, and our then one-year-old daughter did not sound like a very relaxing vacation to me.’
    • ‘The death of such an ambitious, determined, talented and popular young man, with his life in front of him, has left his parents and brothers devastated.’
    • ‘She lives with her parents and two adult brothers in Alto Sopocachi (a relatively nice area of La Paz).’
    • ‘To Tara's parents, brothers and sisters, relations and friends we offer our deepest sympathies and wish upon her the light of Heaven.’
    • ‘The £14,000-a-week Everton striker shares a terrace home with his parents and two younger brothers in Croxteth, Liverpool.’
    • ‘The brothers ' proud parents, Geoff and Sue Finch, of Clacton, have told how they were inundated with goodwill messages while their sons and daughter-in-law were away.’
    • ‘You need to talk to your brothers and your parents.’
    • ‘Mr Campbell's parents and brothers are among the many relatives who have flown to New York.’
    • ‘Jane, John and Desmond together with their parents and four brothers celebrated in style and were joined by a huge crowd of friends and neighbours on that special night in their young lives.’
    • ‘The family had a difficult financial time during Murad's childhood, when little Murad and his brothers helped their parents run a small restaurant.’
    • ‘Kohli, along with his parents and brothers, are suspects in a fake passport case registered at Mohali.’
    • ‘Children are encouraged to attend with parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and pets to direct their own family portrait.’
    • ‘One was 10 when she, her parents and her elder brothers were arrested.’
    • ‘He and his wife lived with his parents and brothers in a Soviet-style flat in one of the Soviet-built micro districts.’
    • ‘And some relatives don't even know where their parents, brothers or sons are being held.’
    • ‘She is mourned by her son, daughters, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law relatives and friends.’
    • ‘Generally your property passes to people in the order of wife or husband, children, grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, more distant relatives.’
    male sibling
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A male associate or fellow member of an organization.
      ‘the time is coming, brothers, for us to act’
      • ‘By the way, if anyone sees my boss, remember that the Republican scumbag thinks I'm on Nantucket with my fraternity brothers.’
      • ‘I would like to remind my fellow brothers and sisters in the ANC that their primary objective should be service delivery and the eradication of poverty.’
      • ‘The guy with the shaved head is pretending to fight with his fraternity brother.’
      • ‘Others were from rugby teammates, fraternity brothers, business associates, and boyfriends.’
      • ‘Your fraternity brother's main reason for existence is to witness your exploits with style.’
      • ‘There are members of various religions and their denominations among the brethren of the Scottish craft.’
      • ‘Fraternity brothers everywhere, you have a future!’
      • ‘My college fraternity brothers have a wonderful ritual.’
      • ‘I now know that my fellow brothers and sisters, the lawyers of New Zealand, will be in a position to practise in front of the highest court of our country.’
      • ‘When I became a Freemason, I placed a Masonic square and compass emblem on my car, as is common practice, so I could be recognized on the road by my fellow brethren.’
      • ‘It was a Pledge Active: planned, executed and paid for by the pledges - no longer civilians, not yet full fraternity brothers.’
      • ‘On a related note, one of my old fraternity brothers has a new blog.’
      colleague, associate, companion, partner, comrade, comrade-in-arms, co-worker, fellow, friend
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2North American informal A black man (often used as a term of address by other black people)
      ‘there I was with one white boy and this other brother’
      • ‘Almost overnight, brothers shifted from Black Power chic to gangster buffoon.’
      • ‘I'm only picking on the brothers who wear the bling because of hip-hop's wide-reaching and conspicuous influence.’
      • ‘We didn't connect like the brothers would here.’
    3. 1.3 A thing which resembles or is connected to another thing.
      ‘the machine is almost identical to its larger brother’
      • ‘She dropped the tray among its fellow brethren and shook her hands, wondering how to get rid of the grease clinging to her skin.’
  • 2Christian Church
    A (male) fellow Christian.

    • ‘One very useful thing Catholics can do to facilitate conversation with the Protestant brethren is pay attention to how much Catholic doctrine is already believed by them.’
    • ‘Brothers in Christ means white brothers in Christ in many cases.’
    • ‘We have already slid into the infancy of theocratic fascism, and my brothers and sisters in Christ don't know they are being used.’
    • ‘However this loyalty ought not be solely to Christ and there must exist also charity towards our fellow brethren.’
    • ‘Help me Lord to work in harmony with my brothers and sisters in Christ, to rise above small-mindedness and to walk in victory!’
    • ‘We can have revival the same way as our brothers and sisters in Christ, won theirs!’
    • ‘But I ask you as a brother in Christ to cease attacking my character and my mental stability.’
    • ‘One of the silver linings to this dark cloud is the lively and blessed love expressed as brothers and sisters in Christ come together as the family to pray for a beloved brother and sister.’
    • ‘Luther's individualism vested an enormously heightened dignity in the least of Christ's brothers and sisters.’
    • ‘My desire is that Protestants would see me as a friend and a brother in Christ.’
    • ‘The star said a Christian brother in his local school added to his childhood misery.’
    • ‘And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.’
    • ‘I get to help decide whether he get to be my President, not my brother in Christ.’
    • ‘It's a hard thing, to ask your Christian brother and sister to apologise for doing something they sincerely believe is right.’
    • ‘I immediately say down with him as I realized that he was a Christian brother.’
    • ‘As more Catholics question the death penalty, the split from their brethren on the Christian right is becoming more pronounced, changing the politics of a bedrock issue.’
    • ‘These saints are our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and many of their life stories have been etched into our minds.’
    1. 2.1 A member of a religious order of men.
      ‘a Benedictine brother’
      • ‘Aging populations of nuns, brothers and priests still reside in large properties throughout the state.’
      • ‘The order also has 400 brothers and about 1,000 lay members.’
      • ‘Stephen goes out walking along the sea wall, where he passes a group of religious brothers that he can barely look at.’
      • ‘The male religious orders fared even worse: in 2001, there was not a single vocation to the religious brothers.’
      • ‘He was looked after by two young brothers from a religious movement just outside Rouen.’
      • ‘He spent his early life courting disapproval, mincing down the corridors in front of the religious brothers to avoid conforming.’
      • ‘The Committee also wishes to invite all priests, nuns and brothers who are natives of the Parish.’
      • ‘They don't grow as their Pentecostal brothers and make no impact on the Brazilian society as a whole.’
      • ‘Blaming them is to forget that Augustine called the Donatists brothers, and encouraged his congregation to do the same.’
      • ‘He had become a brother in the Carmelite order right after he had gotten out of high school.’
      • ‘In 1970, 750 people were seeking to become priests, brothers and nuns.’
      • ‘John of the Cross forgave his Carmelite brothers who imprisoned him in a dungeon.’
      • ‘The other prison, the Curragh, in Co Kildare, takes offenders who are priests and religious brothers.’
      • ‘But then we got here and I saw how your own brethren in the Order have failed to appreciate your towering nobility.’
      • ‘Fr Tony Lester is a Carmelite friar and Prior to a community of Carmelite brothers who live in More House on Heslington Lane.’
      monk, cleric, friar, religious, regular, monastic, contemplative
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 A member of a fundamentalist Protestant denomination.
      ‘the Plymouth Brethren’


North American
  • Used to express annoyance or surprise.

    ‘oh brother!’
    • ‘Oh brother, what a day for brilliant Ireland.’
    • ‘Oh brother what a super bowl!!!’
    • ‘Oh brother, what a meeting of the minds this is gonna be.’


  • be one's brother's keeper

    • Be responsible for the behaviour of a relative, friend, or associate.

      ‘we are, it seems, at last becoming a world in which each of us is our brother's keeper’
      • ‘Hard work, innovation, rugged independence joined with the belief in community that says I am my brother's keeper.’
      • ‘Sometimes being your brother's keeper is no walk in the park.’
      • ‘I want readers to walk away with the understanding that we are our brother's keeper.’
      • ‘We must learn again to become our brother's keeper.’
      • ‘We are, it seems, at last becoming a world in which each of us is our brother's keeper.’
      • ‘The first murderer named in the Bible asked the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?"’
      • ‘It is no longer about caring for mankind, being your brother's keeper.’
      • ‘This doesn't mean we are "our brother's keepers"; it means we practically are our brothers.’
      • ‘Morally, we are bound by the very old principle that a man is his brother's keeper.’
      • ‘I am not your brother's keeper, nor are you.’
  • brothers in arms

    • Soldiers fighting together on the same side.

      • ‘The military's hardly a monolithic organization, and you can always find someone in the service who didn't like one of his brothers in arms.’
      • ‘‘He threw his arms around me,’ recalls Paul, ‘saying we were brothers in arms and all that.’’
      • ‘Although focused on their challenging mission, the warriors on the front lines never forget their missing brothers in arms.’
      • ‘I cannot go to my brothers in arms, because they are dead!’
      • ‘He's here, he loves, he feels, he's not afraid to get too close to these mortals, and where other heroes see dirty uneducated barbarians, he sees brave and loyal brothers in arms.’
      • ‘You are Sergeant Baker, the lead of your paratrooper squad, and you must push hard to ensure you can fight and survive through eight harrowing days that will define history, and unite you forever as brothers in arms.’
      • ‘The Marines' remains are gathered by teary eyed comrades, brothers in arms, and shipped home in a box.’
      • ‘Now please stop helping kill my brothers in arms.’
      • ‘These characters often become brothers in arms in the heat of warfare.’
      • ‘Retired US servicemen living in Pattaya joined in services on US Veterans Day, also known as Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, to remember fallen brothers in arms on November 11 each year.’


Old English brōthor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch broeder and German Bruder, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin frater.