brother

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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See also: Brother and broþer

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English brother, from Old English brōþor, from Proto-Germanic *brōþēr (compare North Frisian Bröðer, West Frisian broer, Dutch broeder, German Bruder, Danish broder, Norwegian bror), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰréh₂tēr (compare Irish bráthair, Welsh brawd, Latin frāter, Ancient Greek φράτηρ (phrátēr), Tocharian A pracar, Tocharian B procer, Russian брат (brat), Lithuanian brolis, Persian برادر(barādar), Sanskrit भ्रातृ (bhrātṛ)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

brother (plural brothers or brethren)

  1. Son of the same parents as another person.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
  2. A male having at least one parent in common with another (see half-brother, stepbrother).
  3. A male fellow member of a religious community, church, trades union etc.
    • The Bible, Deuteronomy 23:19 (NKJV)
      You shall not charge interest to your brother—interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.
    Thank you, brother.
    I would like to thank the brother who just spoke.
  4. (African American Vernacular) A black male.
    • 2013, Gwyneth Bolton, Ready for Love
      But damn if they knew when to just leave a brother alone and let him sulk in silence.
  5. Somebody, usually male, connected by a common cause or situation.
    • 1963, Martin Luther King Jr.
      The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.
  6. Someone who is a peer, whether male or female.

Usage notes[edit]

The plural “brethren” is not used for biological brothers in contemporary English (although it was in older usage). It is, however, still very common when meaning “members of a religious order”. It is also sometimes used in other figurative senses, e.g. “adherents of the same religion”, “countrymen”, and the like.

Coordinate terms[edit]

  • (with regards to gender): sister

Hypernyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

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.

Verb[edit]

brother (third-person singular simple present brothers, present participle brothering, simple past and past participle brothered)

  1. (transitive) To treat as a brother.
    • 1819, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe:
      Seest thou not we are overreached, and that our proposed mode of communicating with our friends without has been disconcerted by this same motley gentleman thou art so fond to brother?

Translations[edit]

Interjection[edit]

brother

  1. Expressing exasperation.
    We're being forced to work overtime? Oh, brother!

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English brōþor, from Proto-Germanic *brōþēr, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰréh₂tēr.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

brother (plural brether or bretheren or brotheren or (rare) brothers, genitive brother or brothers)

  1. A brother or brother-in-law; a male sibling.
    • c. 1200, Ormin, “Dedication”, in Ormulum (in Middle English), lines 1-4:
      Nu broþerr Wallterr broþerr min / Affterr þe flæſhess kinde / ⁊ broþerr min i Criſſtendom / Þurrh fulluhht ⁊ þurrh trowwþe []
      Now, brother Walter, my brother / by way of blood relation / and my brother in Christendom / through baptising and through faith []
  2. A (Christian) man (i.e. as a "brother in life/Christ").
    • a. 1382, John Wycliffe, “Apocalips 1:9”, in Wycliffe's Bible (in Middle English):
      I, Joon, ȝoure brothir, and partener in tribulacioun, and kingdom, and pacience in Criſt Jheſu, was in an ile, that is clepid Pathmos, for the word of God, and for the witneſſyng of Jheſu.
      I, John, your brother and partner in tribulation, kingdom, and patience in Jesus Christ, was on an island that's called Patmos for the word of God and for the witnessing of Jesus.
  3. A blood brother; one in a mutual pact of loyalty between two.
  4. Another member of a religious community or order (when one is a member)
  5. Another member of a guild or craft association (when one is a member)
  6. A male individual who one has a close platonic relationship with.
  7. (rare) One of one's peers as a ruler; (another) ruler.
  8. (rare) A relative or family member who is a man.
  9. (rare, alchemy) Something similar to something else.

Related terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

References[edit]


Old Frisian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Germanic *brōþēr.

Noun[edit]

brōther m

  1. brother

Descendants[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

Noun[edit]

brother m (plural brothers)

  1. Alternative spelling of bróder