briar

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See also: Briar

English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

A sweet briar (Rosa rubiginosa). Mudgee, New South Wales.

From Middle English brere, from Old English brēr, brǣr (briar; bramble). Compare Icelandic brörr (briar).

Noun[edit]

briar (plural briars)

  1. Any of many plants with thorny stems growing in dense clusters, such as many in the Rosa, Rubus, and Smilax genera.
    • 1579, Immeritô [pseudonym; Edmund Spenser], “May. Aegloga Quinta.”, in The Shepheardes Calender: [], London: [] Hugh Singleton, [], OCLC 606515406; reprinted as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, The Shepheardes Calender [], London: John C. Nimmo, [], 1890, OCLC 890162479:
      Youngthes folke now flocken in every where,
      To gather May-buskets and smelling brere
  2. (figuratively) Anything sharp or unpleasant to the feelings.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Ezekiel 2:6:
      ¶ And thou ſonne of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their wordes, though bryars and thornes be with thee, and thou doeſt dwell among ſcorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be diſmayed at their lookes, though they be a rebellious houſe.
    • 1785, William Cowper, The Task[1]:
      Rov'd far, and gather'd much : some harsh, 't is true, / Pick'd from the thorns and briers of reproof, / But wholesome, well-digested ; []

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Etymology 2[edit]

A briar pipe (2)

From French bruyère, assimilated with Etymology 1, above.

Noun[edit]

briar (plural briars)

  1. The white heath, Erica arborea, a thorny Mediterranean shrub.
  2. A pipe for smoking, made from the roots of that shrub.

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