Etymology
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brethren (n.)

alternative plural of brother (q.v.); predominant c. 1200-1600s, but surviving only in religious usage and not now used in reference to male children of the same parents. The title was used by primitive Christians (Acts xviii, etc.) and so was taken by various Protestant sects, such as the Dunkers.

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Definitions of brethren

brethren (n.)
(plural) the lay members of a male religious order;
From wordnet.princeton.edu