late 14c.; see capital (adj.). So called because it is at the "head" of a sentence or word.
"one of the two openings in the upper plate of the body of a violin," so called from resemblance to the italic letter f.
early 14c., bref, "a writing issued by authority," from Latin breve (genitive brevis), noun derivative of adjective brevis "short, little" (from PIE root *mregh-u- "short") which came to mean "letter, summary," specifically a letter of the pope (less ample and solemn than a bull), and thus came to mean "letter of authority," which yielded the modern, legal sense of "systematic summary of the facts of a case" (1630s). The sense of "a short or concise writing" is from 1560s. In German, Brief has become the general word for "an epistle or letter."