"steep slope," in northern England especially "the side of a hill," early 14c., from Scottish, "slope, river bank," perhaps from Old Norse bra "eyelash," cognate with Old English bræw "eyelid," German Braue "eyebrow" (see brow). "The word must have passed through the sense of 'eye-brow' to 'brow of a hill', supercilium (cf. OE. eaghill 'eye-hill'=eyebrow)" [OED].
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