"woman newly married or about to be," Old English bryd "bride, betrothed or newly married woman," from Proto-Germanic *bruthiz "woman being married" (source also of Old Frisian breid, Dutch bruid, Old High German brut, German Braut "bride"), a word of uncertain origin.
Gothic cognate bruþs, however, meant "daughter-in-law," and the form of the word borrowed from Old High German into Medieval Latin (bruta) and Old French (bruy) had only this sense. In ancient Indo-European custom, the married woman went to live with her husband's family, thus the sole "newly wed female" in such a household would have been the daughter-in-law. On the same notion, some trace the word itself to the PIE verbal root *bhreu-, which forms words for cooking and brewing, as this likely was the daughter-in-law's job. An Old Frisian word for "bride" was fletieve, literally "house-gift."
updated on October 23, 2022