brethren

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See also: Brethren

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Early Modern English brethren (plural of brother), from Middle English brethere, brether + -en (plural ending), alteration, due to Old English brēþer (dative singular), of Old English brōþor, brōþru (brothers, brethren). Compare German Brüder (brothers, brethren). More at brother. The vowel change from o to e is called umlaut.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

brethren

  1. (archaic) plural of brother
  2. (figuratively) the body of members, especially of a fraternal, religious or military order

Usage notes[edit]

The plural brethren is generally used for members of an organization, especially a religious body, whereas the plural brothers is used in the familial sense as well as for larger groups.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Adjective[edit]

brethren (comparative more brethren, superlative most brethren)

  1. Of or akin to; related; like
    • 2009, Seth Shostak, Confessions of an Alien Hunter:
      The principle still sounds good, but our astronomical knowledge is limited, and we haven't yet discovered any such brethren solar systems.

See also[edit]