Definition of brevet in US English:



  • often as modifier A former type of military commission conferred especially for outstanding service, by which an officer was promoted to a higher rank without the corresponding pay.

    ‘a brevet lieutenant’
    • ‘He rose from second lieutenant to brevet major general in only four years.’
    • ‘Promoted to the brevet rank of brigadier general, his division was prominent in the last stages of the war.’
    • ‘There is no record that he received a brevet of any grade.’
    • ‘When promoted to brevet major general, he was the youngest American to ever hold that rank.’
    • ‘Meritorious service in three battles won him promotions to brevet major.’
    • ‘Receipt of ‘wings’ or the pilot's brevet, is a significant event in a pilot's career.’


[with object]
  • Confer a brevet rank on.

    • ‘He had been promoted to captain, and later he was brevetted major for ‘gallant and meritorious service’.’
    • ‘It was rumored that she was brevetted a colonel, but there is no evidence of this.’
    • ‘He was often breveted for gallantry, and became quartermaster general of the U.S. Army.’
    • ‘The newly breveted Captain shook his head, the area was so peaceful.’
    • ‘The truth is that Pickett was cited for gallantry and was breveted twice in fighting in Mexico.’


Late Middle English (denoting an official letter, especially a papal indulgence): from Old French brievet ‘little letter’, diminutive of bref.