• Brother


    • UK IPA: /ˈbɹʌðə(ɹ)/, ˈbɹɐðə(ɹ)
    • US enPR: brŭth'ər, IPA: /ˈbɹʌðɚ/
    • Rhymes: -ʌðə(r)

    Alternative forms


    From Middle English brother, from Old English brōþor, from Proto-Germanic *brōþēr (compare West Frisian broer, Dutch broeder, German Bruder, Danish broder), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰréh₂tēr (compare Irish bráthair, Latin frāter, Ancient Greek φράτηρ, Tocharian A pracar, B procer, Russian брат, Lithuanian brolis, Persian برادر, Sanskrit and Hindi भ्रातृ).

    Full definition of brother



    (plural brothers or brethren)
    1. Son of the same parents as another person.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 10, It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
    2. My parents love me and my brother equally, even though he is adopted.
    3. A male having at least one parent in common with another (see half-brother, stepbrother).
    4. A male fellow member of a religious community, church, trades union etc.
      • The Bible, Deuteronomy 23:19 (NKJV)You shall not charge interest to your brother—interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest.
    5. Thank you, brother. I would like to thank the brother who just spoke.
    6. (African American Vernacular English) A black male.
      • 2013, Gwyneth Bolton, Ready for LoveBut damn if they knew when to just leave a brother alone and let him sulk in silence.
    7. Someone who is a peer, whether male or female.
      • Orwell Animal Farm|1And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers.

    Coordinate terms

    • (with regards to gender) sister


    Usage notes

    Usage The plural “brethren” is not used for biological brothers in contemporary English (although it was in older usage). It is, however, still very common when meaning “members of a religious order”. It is also sometimes used in other figurative senses, e.g. “adherents of the same religion”, “countrymen”, and the like.


    1. (transitive) To treat as a brother.
      • 1819, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
      • Seest thou not we are overreached, and that our proposed mode of communicating with our friends without has been disconcerted by this same motley gentleman thou art so fond to brother?


    1. Expressing exasperation.We're being forced to work overtime? Oh, brother!
    © Wiktionary