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brown (adj.)

Old English brun "dark, dusky," developing a definite color sense only 13c., from Proto-Germanic *brunaz (source also of Old Norse brunn, Danish brun, Old Frisian and Old High German brun, Dutch bruin, German braun), from PIE root *bher- (2) "bright; brown."

The Old English word also had a sense of "brightness, shining," preserved only in burnish. The Germanic word was adopted into Romanic (Middle Latin brunus, Italian and Spanish bruno, French brun). Brown sugar is from 1704. Brown Bess, slang name for old British Army flintlock musket, is first recorded 1785. Brown study "state of mental abstraction or meditation" is from 1530s; OED says the notion is "gloomy." Brown-paper "kind of coarse, stout, unbleached paper used for wrapping" is from 1650s.

brown (v.)

c. 1300, "to become brown," from brown (adj.). From 1560s as "to make brown." Related: Browned; browning.

brown (n.)

c. 1300, "a brown thing or part of a thing;" c. 1600, "brown color;" from brown (adj.).

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Definitions of brown from WordNet
1
brown (v.)
fry in a pan until it changes color;
brown the meat in the pan
brown (v.)
make brown in color;
the draught browned the leaves on the trees in the yard
Synonyms: embrown
2
brown (adj.)
of a color similar to that of wood or earth;
Synonyms: brownish / chocolate-brown / dark-brown
brown (adj.)
(of skin) deeply suntanned;
Synonyms: browned
3
brown (n.)
an orange of low brightness and saturation;
Synonyms: brownness
4
Brown (n.)
Scottish botanist who first observed the movement of small particles in fluids now known a Brownian motion (1773-1858);
Synonyms: Robert Brown
Brown (n.)
abolitionist who was hanged after leading an unsuccessful raid at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (1800-1859);
Synonyms: John Brown
Brown (n.)
a university in Rhode Island;
Synonyms: Brown University
From wordnet.princeton.edu