"to plait, knit, weave, twist together," c. 1200, breidan, from Old English bregdan "to move quickly, pull, shake, swing, throw (in wrestling), draw (a sword); bend, weave, knit, join together; change color, vary; scheme, feign, pretend" (class III strong verb, past tense brægd, past participle brogden), from Proto-Germanic *bregdanan "make sudden jerky movements from side to side" (compare Old Norse bregða "to brandish, turn about, move quickly; braid;" Old Saxon bregdan "to weave, braid;" Old Frisian brida "to twitch (the eye);" Dutch breien "to knit;" Old High German brettan "to draw, weave, braid"), perhaps from a PIE root *bhrek- (compare Sanskrit bhurati "moves quickly," Lithuanian bruzdùs "fast"), but there are phonetic difficulties. In English the verb survives only in the narrow definition of "plait hair." Related: Braided; braiding.
c. 1200, "a deceit, stratagem, trick;" c. 1300, "sudden or quick movement," in part from stem found in Old English gebrægd "craft, fraud," gebregd "commotion," Old Norse bragð "deed, trick," and in part from or influenced by related braid (v.). Meaning "anything plaited or entwined" (especially hair) is from 1520s.
updated on July 25, 2018