Main definitions of brake in US English:

: brake1brake2brake3brake4brake5brake6

brake1

noun

  • 1A device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, typically by applying pressure to the wheels.

    ‘he slammed on his brakes’
    as modifier ‘a brake pedal’
    • ‘With two levels of traction control, it will also solve the problem before it becomes one by applying the brakes to individual wheels.’
    • ‘And it uses the same technology as ESP by applying engine and brake control to the vehicle.’
    • ‘They also found that the pilots applied the wheel brakes manually, rather than in the automatic mode.’
    • ‘Both drivers realised they were on collision course and applied their emergency brakes, halting the vehicles around two tram lengths apart.’
    • ‘The technology detects when the wheels lift at the start of a rollover and applies brakes to individual wheels to stabilize the SUV.’
    • ‘The most common problems which might make a vehicle unroadworthy are brakes, steering, tyres, suspension or corrosion.’
    • ‘The basic rule is to apply hard pressure to the brake pedal and leave it there.’
    • ‘Yes, the gearbox was a bit saggy and I was alarmed at how much pressure the brake pedal needed to do an emergency stop, but other than this, all was well.’
    • ‘Traffic officials will be checking the brakes, steering wheels, tyres and lights of all heavy-duty vehicles.’
    • ‘The auto also shifts back into neutral when the car is stationary with the brake pedal applied, slipping into drive when the throttle is applied.’
    • ‘Hydraulic Rear Wheel Boost increases rear brake pressure when the front axle is in ABS mode.’
    • ‘They also feature a brake pedal that moves towards the floor of the vehicle when a crash is detected to avoid possibility of leg injury to the driver.’
    • ‘The system works with sensors, a computer and four fast-acting valves to change brake pressure on each wheel over uneven surfaces.’
    • ‘If you are a beginner cyclist, apply both brakes with even pressure.’
    • ‘And its lower brake application pressure means shorter stopping distances should the booster fail.’
    • ‘Pressing the DSC switch briefly disables the engine intervention, and uses the wheel brakes to control wheel spin.’
    • ‘In an attempt to slow down, I first applied light pressure to the brake pedal.’
    • ‘Part way through the landing roll, the pilot will apply pressure to the brakes and that will kick off the autobrakes.’
    • ‘Data recorders in air bags can record a car's speed and deceleration and other data such as the pressure on a brake pedal at the time of a crash.’
    • ‘Although steering wheel and brake pedal remain, the mechanical connection between them and the parts they activate has been replaced by an electric signal.’
    1. 1.1 A thing that slows or hinders a process.
      ‘managers have a duty to put the brakes on growth when it is unsustainable’
      • ‘It just seems to me we're going to lose very important technologies, very important human capital if we don't do something soon to put the brakes on here.’
      • ‘What do you do, then, if you want to put the brakes on the future?’
      • ‘In the past, rising oil prices have put the brakes on economic growth.’
      • ‘Something is going to have to be done, however, to put the brakes on these year-on-year steep service charge increases.’
      • ‘Families are being asked to help put the brakes on youngsters who are plaguing their lives by riding illegally on motorcycles.’
      • ‘‘The commercial market is already in slowdown mode, this will put the brakes on even more,’ said a surveyor.’
      • ‘And it makes it sound to me like he may really put the brakes on some of the first amendment rights the press has enjoyed in the past.’
      • ‘I decided to put the brakes on and slow my descent, managing to achieve this at a little over 46m down.’
      • ‘Calls are being made to put the brakes on the installation of controversial speed humps on Bolton roads.’
      • ‘Don't be surprised if your child wants to put the brakes on the process once she has told you.’
      • ‘Stringent checks could finally put the brakes on the notorious motorcyclists who tear around the borough's scrubland.’
      • ‘He also needs to put the brakes on the state's budget-busting aid to local school districts, spiraling up at two to three times the rate of inflation.’
      • ‘In effect, for ideological reasons the administration put the brakes on one of the most promising lines of biomedical research.’
      • ‘Second, the coverage process acts as a brake to prevent overutilization.’
      • ‘Will these higher rates really put the brakes on the housing market, which has been doing so well?’
      • ‘His poor performance at PMQs put the brakes on early momentum.’
      • ‘The continuing recovery of the US dollar has finally put the brakes on metal prices, which had been climbing for the past 18 months.’
      • ‘In October, a massive outcry from citizens put the brakes on the city's plans to privatize its own water system.’
      • ‘Others in North Dakota and Arizona have put the brakes on new plans involving such equipment.’
      • ‘The authorities in China have already acted to put the brakes on credit growth.’
      curb, check, restraint, restriction, constraint, rein, control, damper, impediment, limitation
      View synonyms

verb

[no object]
  • Make a moving vehicle slow down or stop by using a brake.

    ‘an anti-lock braking system’
    ‘drivers who brake abruptly’
    • ‘He braked heavily, stopping just short of the pickets.’
    • ‘Some pedal feedback and noise is normal during panic stops or when braking on wet or slick surfaces.’
    • ‘Seat belts are necessary in case of accidents, such as braking to a sudden stop.’
    • ‘She ran out across Piccadilly Circus, ignoring the harsh horns being beeped by the drivers who'd braked hard to miss her and trying to ignore the frightening jolt she'd received inside when they'd done so.’
    • ‘When the driver saw a man in white on the rail, he braked and the train stopped 30 metres short of the trespasser.’
    • ‘I have myself, on numerous occasions, had to brake hard to avoid a dog crossing the street.’
    • ‘During this he drove through red traffic lights, forced other vehicles to brake to avoid collisions, weaved in and out of traffic, and reached 85 mph.’
    • ‘During his fastest lap, he was forced to brake to avoid a slower car and used up too much of his tyres.’
    • ‘He braked but the vehicle would not stop and they collided with the wall.’
    • ‘The situation appears particularly severe where vehicles are braking on the paving.’
    • ‘To avoid them, he braked hard but the bus skidded and knocked them down.’
    • ‘The driver braked abruptly, causing the car to skid a little.’
    • ‘But this truck was forced to brake hard to avoid a pile-up.’
    • ‘He thought better of trying to brave it out around the outside of the corner and braked hard to avoid being pushed into the gravel trap.’
    • ‘When I realised I urgently needed to stop I braked hard and my foot slipped off the pedal.’
    • ‘‘The bus driver braked but failed to avoid a pedestrian who was in the inside lane of the northbound carriageway,’ she said.’
    • ‘A cloud of dust rose up in swirling patterns around the car's headlight as he braked hard and came to a skidding stop.’
    • ‘As he braked at a four-way stop he glanced at her.’
    • ‘The driver of the stolen car suddenly executed a handbrake turn and spun around in the opposite direction, causing the driver of the police car to brake hard to avoid a collision.’
    • ‘One car pulling into another lane and forcing the driver behind to brake hard is enough to start traffic bunching up.’
    slow down, slow, decelerate
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 18th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

brake

/breɪk//brāk/

Main definitions of brake in US English:

: brake1brake2brake3brake4brake5brake6

brake2

noun

historical
  • An open, horse-drawn, four-wheeled carriage.

    • ‘The cost of travelling by alternative means such as coach or brake was prohibitive over a season, so the railways were vital.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: variant of break.

Pronunciation

brake

/breɪk//brāk/

Main definitions of brake in US English:

: brake1brake2brake3brake4brake5brake6

brake3

noun

  • 1A toothed instrument used for crushing flax and hemp.

    • ‘The farmer passed handfuls of flax through a tool called a flax brake to break up the hard inner core.’
    • ‘This process usually requires a flax brake, a wooden device consisting of two hinged blades.’
    • ‘After drying again, the stems were broken in a flax brake (flailing a wooden knife against a wooden block).’
    1. 1.1 A heavy machine formerly used in agriculture for breaking up large lumps of earth.
      • ‘To reduce such ground, a large heavy harrow, generally termed a brake, is commonly employed.’

Origin

Late Middle English: possibly related to Middle Low German brake and Dutch braak, and perhaps also to break.

Pronunciation

brake

/breɪk//brāk/

Main definitions of brake in US English:

: brake1brake2brake3brake4brake5brake6

brake4

noun

archaic, literary
  • A thicket.

    • ‘It is one of those thickets or brakes in which the cane grows from twelve to thirty feet in height.’

Origin

Old English bracu (first recorded in the plural in fearnbraca ‘thickets of fern’), related to Middle Low German brake ‘branch, stump’.

Pronunciation

brake

/breɪk//brāk/

Main definitions of brake in US English:

: brake1brake2brake3brake4brake5brake6

brake5

(also brake fern)

noun

  • 1A coarse fern of warm and tropical countries, frequently having the fronds divided into long linear segments.

    Genus Pteris, family Pteridaceae

    • ‘Pteris vittata, or brake fern, could potentially be used to clean up the poison, which is both naturally occurring in soil and unnaturally present in farm chemicals, wood preservatives, and other products.’
    • ‘Their repeated experiments with the brake fern showed that it is capable of reducing initial arsenic concentration of 200 micrograms per litre by a hundredfold within 24 hours.’
    • ‘Four-month-old Chinese brake fern (P. vittata), slender brake fern (P. ensiformis), and Boston fern (N. exaltata) were obtained from a commercial nursery.’
    • ‘In addition to being effective in taking up a large amount of arsenic into its aboveground biomass in a relatively short period of time from soils containing arsenic of different concentrations and species, Brake fern also has many desirable attributes as a hyperaccumulating plant.’
    • ‘Brake ferns are easy to grow.’
    1. 1.1
      archaic term for bracken
      • ‘The word brake or bracken is one of the many plant names from which some of our English surnames are derived, as Brack, Breck, Brackenridge, etc.’
      • ‘The names bracken and brake are sometimes also applied to other large, coarse ferns and, as general terms, to a thicket of such plants.’

Origin

Middle English: perhaps an abbreviation of bracken (interpreted as plural).

Pronunciation

brake

/breɪk//brāk/

Main definitions of brake in US English:

: brake1brake2brake3brake4brake5brake6

brake6

Pronunciation

brake

/breɪk//brāk/