Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
From Middle English brotherhod, from earlier brotherhede, alteration (influenced by suffixes in -hood, -head) of Early Middle English brotherrede (“brotherhood, fraternity”), from Old English brōþorrǣden (“brotherhood, fellowship”), equivalent to brother + -red (see brotherred). More at brother, -red.
brotherhood (plural brotherhoods)
- The state of being brothers or a brother.
- An association for any purpose, such as a society of monks; a fraternity.
- The whole body of persons engaged in the same business, especially those of the same profession
- the legal brotherhood
- the medical brotherhood
- Persons, and, poetically, things, of a like kind.
- A brotherhood of venerable trees. - William Wordsworth.