Definition of brotherhood in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The relationship between brothers.

    ‘the bonds of brotherhood’
    • ‘Kan Je-Gyu created a masterpiece of loyalty, honor and the everlasting bonds of brotherhood.’
    • ‘They are destined to meet again in a confrontation that will test the bonds of their brotherhood.’
    • ‘But the truth was that the bond of brotherhood was strong between the two of them that neither could truly deny the other anything, though Will exploited this relationship much more than Eaton.’
    • ‘Before the end of the film, Chris must come of age, Deel must be slain, and the bond of brotherhood has to be shown to be the most important in the world.’
    comradeship, fellowship, brotherliness, fraternalism, kinship
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    1. 1.1The feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of people or all people.
      ‘a gesture of solidarity and brotherhood’
      • ‘The Jewish idea of redemption is synonymous with all humanity living together in peace and brotherhood, in a close spiritual relationship with the infinite Creator of the universe.’
      • ‘For Joburg's Emergency Management Services the international bonds of brotherhood with other emergency workers are strong.’
      • ‘Yet, in spite of all this feeling of brotherhood, Canada from the very beginning of the crisis came in for American criticism for the nonchalant way immigration services were handled.’
      • ‘In this trip, the message we are carrying is one of peace, brotherhood and friendship.’
      • ‘In other words, what we need is a genuine commitment to the principles of universal brotherhood and sisterhood.’
      • ‘The bond of friendship, brotherhood and enthusiasm to sacrifice themselves for each other were no longer there.’
      • ‘When it comes to brotherhood of faith, it is far superior to brotherhood of relationship.’
      • ‘As a show of brotherhood, every rugby match is followed by a ‘social’ where the home team feeds and hosts the visiting team.’
      • ‘In essence most of these religions have the same essence of love, brotherhood and compassion.’
      • ‘The Prophet, however, continued to establish a bond of brotherhood between each two of his companions, when more people declared their acceptance of Islam.’
      • ‘There is a feeling of brotherhood and affection awakened here.’
      • ‘May the hearts of Christians and Muslims turn to one another with feelings of brotherhood and friendship, so that the Almighty may bless us with the peace which heaven alone can give.’
      • ‘This bond of sisterhood reflects the bond of brotherhood within US infantry squads where men are broken down into smaller teams.’
      • ‘He added that organizing more and more such events would spread the message of peace, brotherhood and amity among the people living across the globe.’
      • ‘This focus continues, encouraged by international scouting events and an emphasis on sisterhood and brotherhood across cultures.’
      • ‘Cut the ties that bind us together, cut the bond, cut our brotherhood and our sisterhood, and we suffer.’
      • ‘I miss the Bay area brotherhood and sisterhood.’
      • ‘We are able to build up brotherhood and sisterhood.’
      • ‘When the movie ends, as ambiguously as it began, the dominant note is not anger or even sadness, but a quiet feeling of brotherhood, a clearer sense of the ties that bind us together.’
      • ‘The one thing contractors can never replace, however, in a job offer is that camaraderie, that brotherhood that's established when you serve the U.S. military.’
      group, set, crowd, lot, circle, coterie, in-crowd, clan, faction, pack, band, ring, fraternity, society, troop, company, team
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  • 2An association or community of people linked by a common interest, religion, or trade.

    ‘a religious brotherhood’
    • ‘Basically all those who lived away from the plantations and could claim a small plot of land, membership in a religious brotherhood, or political patronage were considered Forros.’
    • ‘Do you have to be a member of any sort of organised religion to join the brotherhood?’
    • ‘‘The government is not afraid of the brotherhood,’ Ahmed Nazif, the prime minister, said last week.’
    • ‘He epitomised the keenness and competitive spirit of the Great Race as well as that of the racing community as a brotherhood.’
    • ‘Mystery schools and secret brotherhoods state a similar claim, that their wisdom comes from ‘somewhere else’ and are guided by a superior race of beings.’
    • ‘The Safavid brotherhood was originally a religious group.’
    • ‘Police brotherhood boss Yves Francoeur is no fan of the public security officers that patrol 17 of the 27 island boroughs.’
    • ‘Young men who called themselves disciplinantes, the flagellators, organized into religious brotherhoods for the specific purpose of scourging the flesh ‘in payment for all the sins of the Christian people’.’
    • ‘These ties include family, friends, ethnic groups, neighborhood associations, religious brotherhoods, and hometown networks.’
    • ‘That is the covenant, the bond that binds this brotherhood of airmen.’
    • ‘Under the umbrella of their different tariqas the brotherhoods developed formidable organizations bound by personal ties of allegiance to their leaders.’
    • ‘Members of any religion are invited to join the brotherhood.’
    • ‘Each one belongs to a secret brotherhood affiliated to one of Seville's many churches.’
    • ‘Costigan found that the man and other members of the union comprised a brotherhood of organised criminals.’
    • ‘Of course, we're told that the Freemasons are no longer a secret brotherhood, but a brotherhood with secrets.’
    • ‘Although many particulars of Bamana initiation societies, or jow, are still little known, rites of passage and the control of power are acknowledged aspects of these associations or brotherhoods.’
    • ‘It was a brotherhood or association that catered to elderly craftsmen.’
    • ‘Bearing in mind this historical-philosophical context, it becomes easier to understand how the tavolette came to be integrated into the rituals performed by the brotherhoods that ministered to the condemned.’
    • ‘Your tongue will be torn out if you reveal any of the secrets of the brotherhood… That's often said to be one of the rules of the secret societies which have been around for centuries.’
    • ‘Hundreds of brotherhoods associated with the Jesuits had to be dissolved.’
    society, association, union, alliance, institution, league, guild, coalition, affiliation, consortium, fraternity, order, body, community, club, syndicate, circle, lodge, clan, set, clique, coterie
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    1. 2.1North American A trade union.
      ‘the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America’
      • ‘If judged by membership density alone, one might conclude that most running trades workers found the brotherhoods ' message compelling.’
      • ‘The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America is one of the largest building trades union in the United States.’
      • ‘Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters (MARCC), an affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.’
      • ‘The challenge for the railroad brotherhoods, of course, was to make good on their temperance promises.’
      • ‘Plus, there is a brotherhood in union construction that resembles military comraderie.’
      • ‘The railroad brotherhoods and their women's auxiliaries, however, deployed a ‘respectable’ style of manhood in their efforts to win train workers over to a temperate lifestyle.’
      • ‘Thus, activists in the railroad brotherhoods, together with the wives and sisters of organized railwaymen based in the women's auxiliaries, turned their attention to the problem of masculine intemperance.’
      • ‘The craft brotherhoods of railway men, founded in the last decades of the nineteenth century with only-white membership clauses in their constitutions, enforced the racially segmented order of railroad work.’
      • ‘Similarly, the railroad brotherhoods ' temperance efforts resembled but did not duplicate bourgeois temperance movements.’
      • ‘Viewed this way, the railroad brotherhoods ' language of temperance and respectable manhood was as much intended for public consumption as it was the uplift of railwaymen.’
      • ‘To be sure, there was a range of opinion within the railroad brotherhoods - the rank and file accepted, resisted, and altered the ‘official’ brotherhood message in varying degrees.’
      • ‘The most common association, the compagnonnage, was a brotherhood of journeymen that upheld rituals and traditions dating from the mid-seventeenth century.’


Middle English: probably from obsolete brotherred (based on Old English -rǣden ‘condition, state’; compare with kindred). The change of suffix was due to association with words ending in -hood and -head.