brilliancy (n.)
"quality of being brilliant," 1747; see brilliant + abstract noun suffix -cy. Also compare brilliance.
brilliant (adj.)
"sparkling with light or luster," 1680s, from French brilliant "sparkling, shining" present participle of briller "to shine" (16c.), from Italian brillare "sparkle, whirl," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *berillare "to shine like a beryl," from berillus "beryl, precious stone," from Latin beryllus (see beryl).

Figurative sense of "distinguished by admirable qualities" is from 1848. Of diamonds from 1680s in reference to a flat-topped cut invented 17c. by Venetian cutter Vincenzo Peruzzi. Related: Brilliantly; brilliantness.
brim (n.)
"brink, edge, margin," c. 1200, brymme "edge (of the sea), bank (of a river)," of obscure origin, perhaps akin to Old Norse barmr "rim, brim," probably related to dialectal German bräme "margin, border, fringe," from PIE *bhrem- "point, spike, edge." Extended by 1520s to the upper or projecting edge of anything hollow (cups, basins, hats).

Old English (and northern Middle English) had brim "sea, surf, pool, spring, river, body of water," of uncertain origin but probably unrelated, perhaps from the Germanic stem *brem- "to roar, rage." "It became obs. in ME.; but was perhaps used by Spenser" [OED].
brim (v.)
"to fill to the brim," 1610s, from brim (n.). Intransitive sense ("be full to the brim") attested from 1818. To brim over "overflow" is from 1825. Related: Brimmed; brimming.
brimful (adj.)
also brim-full, "full to the top," 1520s, from brim (n.) + -ful.
brimming (adj.)
"being full to the brim," 1660s, present-participle adjective from brim (v.).
brimstone (n.)
"sulfur in a solidified state," Old English brynstan, from brin- stem of brinnen "to burn" (from Proto-Germanic *brennan "to burn," from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm") + stan (see stone (n.)). In Middle English the first element also recorded as brem-, brom-, brum-, bren-, brin-, bron-, brun-, bern-, born-, burn-, burned-, and burnt-. Formerly "the mineral sulfur," now restricted to biblical usage.
The Lord reynede vpon Sodom and Gomor brenstoon and fier. [Wycliff's rendition (1382) of Genesis xix.24]
The Old Norse cognate compound brennusteinn meant "amber," as does German Bernstein.
brinded (adj.)
also brended, of animal hide, "variegated by streaks and spots," early 15c., the older form of brindled (q.v.).
brindle (adj.)
"gray with bands of darker gray or black," 1670s, variant of brindled.
brindled (adj.)
of horses, cows, dogs, etc., "marked with streaks, streaked with a darker color," 1670s, variant of Middle English brended (early 15c.), from bren "brown color" (13c.), noun from past participle of brennen "burn" (from Proto-Germanic *brennan "to burn," from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm"). The etymological sense of the adjective appears to be "marked as though by branding or burning." Form altered perhaps by influence of kindled.
brine (n.)
Old English bryne "water saturated with salt," cognate with Dutch brijn, Flemish brijne, but all of unknown origin.
bring (v.)
Old English bringan "to bear, convey, take along in coming; bring forth, produce, present, offer" (past tense brohte, past participle broht), from Proto-Germanic *brengan (source also of Old Frisian brenga, Middle Dutch brenghen, Old High German bringan, German bringen, Gothic briggan). There are no exact cognates outside Germanic, but it appears to be from PIE *bhrengk-, based on root *bher- (1) "to carry," also "to bear children."

The tendency to conjugate this as a strong verb on the model of sing, drink, etc., is ancient: Old English also had a rare strong past participle form, brungen, corresponding to modern colloquial brung.

To bring about "effect, accomplish" is from late 14c. To bring down is from c. 1300 as "cause to fall," 1530s as "humiliate," 1590s as "to reduce, lessen." To bring down the house figuratively (1754) is to elicit applause so thunderous it collapses the theater roof. To bring forth "produce," as young or fruit is from c. 1200. To bring up is from late 14c. as "to rear, nurture;" 1875 as "introduce to consideration." To bring up the rear "move onward at the rear" is by 1708.
brink (n.)
"edge or border of a steep place," early 13c., from Middle Low German brink "edge," or from a Scandinavian source akin to Danish brink "steepness, shore, bank, grassy edge," from Proto-Germanic *brenkon, probably from PIE *bhreng-, variant of *bhren- "to project; edge" (source also of Lithuanian brinkti "to swell").
brinkmanship (n.)
also brinksmanship (with unetymological -s-), 1956, a construction based on salesmanship, sportsmanship, etc.; from brink (n.). The image of the brink of war dates to at least 1829 (John Quincy Adams).

Associated with the policies advocated by John Foster Dulles (1888-1959), U.S. Secretary of State 1953-1959. The word springs from Dulles' description of his philosophy in a magazine interview [with Time-Life Washington bureau chief James Shepley] in early 1956:
The ability to get to the verge without getting into the war is the necessary art. If you cannot master it, you inevitably get into war. If you try to run away from it, if you are scared to go to the brink, you are lost.
The quote was widely criticized by the Eisenhower Administration's opponents, and the first attested use of brinkmanship seems to have been in such a disparaging context, a few weeks after the magazine interview appeared, by Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson criticizing Dulles for "boasting of his brinkmanship -- the art of bringing us to the edge of the nuclear abyss."
briny (adj.)
"salty," c. 1600, from brine + -y (2). Used earlier of tears than of the ocean (1610s). Related: Brininess.
brio (n.)
"liveliness, vivacity," 1734, from Italian brio "mettle, fire, life," perhaps a shortened derivative of Latin ebrius "drunk." Or via Provençal briu "vigor," from Celtic *brig-o- "strength," from PIE root *gwere- (1) "heavy." Probably it entered English via the musical instruction con brio.
brioche (n.)
enriched type of French bread, 1824, from French brioche (15c.), from brier "to knead the dough," Norman form of broyer "to grind, pound," from Proto-Germanic *brekan "to break" (from PIE root *bhreg- "to break"). By 1840 as "round or stuffed cushion for the feet to rest on."
briquette (n.)
also briquet, "small brick," 1870, especially "block of compressed coal dust held together by pitch," used for fuel, from French briquette (18c.), diminutive of brique (see brick (n.)).
bris (n.)
Yiddish word for the circumcision ceremony, 1956, from bris milah, Ashkenazi pronunciation of brit milah "covenant of circumcision."
brisk (adj.)
"quick or rapid in action or motion, swift, lively," 1550s, as Scottish bruisk, which is of uncertain origin; perhaps an alteration of French brusque (see brusque). Related: Briskly; briskness.
brisket (n.)
"breast or rib-meat of an animal," mid-14c., brusket, perhaps from Old French bruschet, with identical sense of the English word, or from Old Norse brjosk "gristle, cartilage" (related to brjost "breast") or Danish bryske or Middle High German brusche "lump, swelling;" from PIE *bhreus- "to swell, sprout" (see breast (n.)).
bristle (n.)
"stiff, coarse hair of certain animals," especially those set along the backs of hogs, Old English byrst "bristle," with metathesis of -r-, from Proto-Germanic *bursti- (source also of Middle Dutch borstel, German borste, Danish börste), from PIE *bhrsti- from root *bhars- "point, bristle" (source also of Sanskrit bhrstih "point, spike"). With -el, diminutive suffix. Extended to similar appendages on some plants and insects.
bristle (v.)
c. 1200 (implied in past participle adjective bristled) "set or covered with bristles," from bristle (n.). Of hair, "to stand or become stiff and upright," late 15c. Extended meaning "become angry or excited" is 1540s, from the way animals show fight. Related: Bristling.
bristly (adj.)
1590s, "thickly set with bristles," from bristle (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense is recorded from 1872. Related: Bristliness.
City in western England, Middle English Bridgestow, from Old English Brycgstow, literally "assembly place by a bridge" (see bridge (n.) + stow). A local peculiarity of pronunciation adds -l to words ending in vowels. Of a type of pottery, 1776; of a type of glass, 1880. In British slang, "breast," 1961, from Bristol cities, rhyming slang for titties.
Brit (n.)
U.S. colloquial shortening of Britisher or Briton, 1901, formerly (with Britisher) felt as offensive by Englishmen traveling in the States, who regarded it as another instance of the "odious vulgarism" of the Americans, but Bret and Bryt were common Old English words for the (Celtic) Britons and survived until c. 1300. In Old French, Bret as an adjective meant "British, Breton; cunning, crafty; simple-minded, stupid."
Britain (n.)
proper name of the island containing England, Scotland, and Wales, c. 1300, Breteyne, from Old French Bretaigne, from Latin Britannia, earlier Brittania, from Brittani "the Britons" (see Briton). The Old English place-name Brytenlond meant "Wales." If there was a Celtic name for the island, it has not been recorded.
Latin name of Britain, preserved in poetry and as the proper name of the female figure who personifies the place on coinage, etc.
When Britain first, at Heaven's command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."
[James Thomson, 1740]
Britannic (adj.)
"of or pertaining to Great Britain," 1640s, from Latin Britannicus, from Britannia (see Britain).
britches (n.)
1905, variant of britch (1620s), an old variant of breech (see breeches).
variant of bright (adj.). It figures in English phonetic spelling reform from at least the late 19c.; as an advertiser's word it dates from at least 1905 ("Star-brite Metal Polish," made by the Star-Brite Company of Lancaster, Pa., U.S.).
British (adj.)
Old English Bryttisc "of or relating to (ancient) Britons," from Bryttas "natives of ancient Britain" (see Briton). Meaning "of or pertaining to Great Britain" is from c. 1600; the noun meaning "inhabitants of Great Britain" is from 1640s. British Empire is from c. 1600. First modern record of British Isles is from 1620s. British English as the form of the English language spoken in Britain is by 1862 (George P. Marsh). Related: Britishness.
Britisher (n.)
"native or inhabitant of Great Britain," 1829, from British + -er (1).
Briton (n.)
c. 1200, "a Celtic native of the British Isles," from Anglo-French Bretun, from Latin Brittonem (nominative Britto, misspelled Brito in MSS) "a member of the tribe of the Britons," from *Britt-os, the Celtic name of the Celtic inhabitants of Britain and southern Scotland before the 5c. Anglo-Saxon invasion drove them into Wales, Cornwall, and a few other corners. In 4c. B.C.E. Greek they are recorded as Prittanoi, which is said to mean "tattooed people."

In Middle English it was exclusively in historical use, or in reference to the inhabitants of Brittany (see Breton); it was revived when James I was proclaimed King of Great Britain in 1604, and made official at the union of England and Scotland in 1707.
Brittany (n.)
c. 1200, Brutaine, Britaine, from Old French Bretaigne, named for 5c. Romano-Celtic refugees from the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain who crossed the channel and settled there (see Britain). The Little Britain or Less Britain (lasse brutaine, c. 1300) of old, contrasted with the Great Britain. As a name for girls (with various spellings), almost unknown in U.S. before 1970, then a top-10 name for babies born between 1986 and 1995. The Brittany spaniel dog breed is attested by 1929.
brittle (adj.)
"breaking easily and suddenly," late 14c., britel, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English adjective *brytel, related to brytan "to crush, pound, to break to pieces," from Proto-Germanic stem *brutila- "brittle," from *breutan "to break up" (source also of Old Norse brjota "to break," Old High German brodi "fragile"), from PIE *bhreu- "to cut, break up" (see bruise (v.)). With -le, suffix forming adjectives with meaning "liable to." Related: Brittleness.
bro (n.)
colloquial abbreviation of brother, attested from 1660s.
broach (v.)
"to pierce," mid-14c., from Old French brochier "to spur," also "to penetrate sexually" (12c., Modern French brocher), from the Old French noun (see broach (n.), and compare Italian broccare). Meaning "begin to talk about" is 1570s, a figurative use with suggestions of "broaching" a cask or of spurring into action (which was a sense of the verb in Middle English). Related: Broached broaching.
broach (n.)
"pointed instrument," c. 1300, from Old French broche (12c.) "spit for roasting, awl, point end, top," from Vulgar Latin *brocca "pointed tool" (source also of Spanish broca, Italian brocca), noun use of fem. of Latin adjective broccus "projecting, pointed" (used especially of teeth), perhaps of Gaulish origin (compare Gaelic brog "awl").
broad (adj.)
Old English brad "wide, not narrow," also "flat, open, extended," from Proto-Germanic *braithaz (source also of Old Frisian bred, Old Norse breiðr, Dutch breed, German breit, Gothic brouþs), which is of unknown origin. Not found outside Germanic languages. There is no clear distinction in sense from wide. Of day or daylight, late 14c.; of speech or accents, 1530s. Related: Broadly; broadness.
broad (n.)
c. 1300, "breadth" (obsolete), from broad (adj.). Sense of "shallow, reedy lake formed by the expansion of a river over a flat surface" is a Norfolk dialect word from 1650s. Meaning "the broad part" of anything is by 1741.

Slang sense of "woman" is by 1911, perhaps suggestive of broad hips, but it also might trace to American English abroadwife, word for a woman (often a slave) away from her husband. Earliest use of the slang word suggests immorality or coarse, low-class women. Because of this negative association, and the rise of women's athletics, the track and field broad jump (1863) was changed to the long jump c. 1967.
broad-brim (adj.)
as a style of hat, 1680s, from broad (adj.) + brim (n.). Broad-brimmed) in 18c.-19c. suggested "Quaker male," from their characteristic attire.
broad-minded (adj.)
1590s; see broad (adj.) + -minded. This abstract mental sense of broad existed in Old English; for example in bradnes "breadth," also "liberality."
broadband (n.)
from 1620s in various senses, from broad (adj.) + band (n.1). In electronics from 1956 as "a band having a wide range of frequencies;" as a type of high-speed internet access, it was widely available from 2006.
broadcast (adj.)
1767, "dispersed upon the ground by hand," in reference to seed, from broad (adj.) + past participle of cast (v.). Figurative sense "widely spread" is recorded by 1785. As an adverb from 1832. Modern media use began with radio (1922, adjective and noun). As a verb, recorded from 1813 in an agricultural sense, 1829 in a figurative sense, 1921 in reference to radio.
broadcaster (n.)
1922, agent noun from broadcast.
broadcasting (n.)
1922, verbal noun from broadcast (v.).
broadcloth (n.)
also broad-cloth, "fine woolen cloth used in making men's garments," early 15c., from broad (adj.) + cloth (n.). So called from its width (usually 60 inches).
broaden (v.)
1726, "make broad;" 1727, "grow broad;" from broad (adj.) + -en (1). The word seems no older than this (it was cited by Johnson in one of James Thomson's "Seasons" poems); broadened also is first found in the same poet. Broadening is recorded from 1835 as a noun, 1850 as a present-participle adjective.
broadsheet (n.)
also broad-sheet, 1705, "large sheet of paper printed on one side only," from broad (adj.) + sheet (n.). By 1831 as "a broadsheet newspaper."