"exhibiting courage or courageous endurance," late 15c., from Middle French brave, "splendid, valiant," from Italian bravo "brave, bold," originally "wild, savage," a word of uncertain origin. Possibly from Medieval Latin bravus "cutthroat, villain," from Latin pravus "crooked, depraved;" a less likely etymology being from Latin barbarus (see barbarous). A Celtic origin (Irish breagh, Cornish bray) also has been suggested, and there may be a confusion of two or more words. Related: Bravely.
Old English words for this, some with overtones of "rashness," included modig (now "moody"), beald ("bold"), cene ("keen"), dyrstig ("daring"). Brave new world is from the title of Aldous Huxley's 1932 satirical utopian novel; he lifted the phrase from Shakespeare ("Tempest" v.i.183).