from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Relating to, or resembling, Briareus, a giant fabled to have a hundred hands; many-handed.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin Briareius, from Briareus a mythological hundred-handed giant, from Ancient Greek.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word Briarean.


  • Because these men were mere clods, bold enough and clever enough in their own rude way, but no match for the law, with its Argus eyes and its Briarean hands.

    For the term of his natural life

  • Even the chronic and pamphlet-producing quarrel between the managers of our telegraphic system and their Briarean antagonist, the daily-newspaper-press, fails to convey to our general sense anything beyond the impression that the most gigantic benefits may be so abused as to tempt us into an occasional wish that they had never existed.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 47, September, 1861

  • This is to be brought about only by the application, at any cost, of the most immediate methods of communication with the city; and behold our railroad system, -- the Briarean shaking of hands which the country gives the city!

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 07, No. 42, April, 1861

  • Notions, worthy only of the dark ages, spring up in the glare of the supposed illumination of the present day, and resist all the efforts of the Briarean press itself to dispel them.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 20, No. 564, September 1, 1832

  • With her iron and coal, she fashions and propels the winged Mercuries of her commerce; with these and the clay that underlies her soil, she erects her factories and workshops; these form the Briarean arms by which she fabricates her tissues.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 46, August, 1861

  • There was more to do than a first look had led them to suppose, and their schemes grew ambitious, besides, as they advanced with them, so that, for all the Briarean prodigies of Bill, the odd-job man, they went to bed dog tired at nine o'clock that night with their labors not more than half complete.

    Mary Wollaston

  • Compelling the National Government to stretch its Briarean arms into the free States for the sake of Slavery, you show openly how it may stretch these same hundred giant arms into the slave States for the sake of Freedom.

    American Eloquence, Volume 2 Studies In American Political History (1896)

  • He was the great virtuoso on the orchestra, and on this Briarean instrument he played with the most amazing skill.

    The Great Italian and French Composers

  • I must say they have very tenderly, very perfectly imagined us, all those hotel people and railroad folk, and fold us, anxious and bewildered exiles, in a reassuring and consoling embrace which leaves all their hands -- they are Briarean -- free for the acceptance of our wide, wild tips.

    Seven English Cities

  • We brought off enough treasure in our lifeboat to give every ass in the nation a pair of gold ears, which, in the present condition of affairs, would require more of the precious metal than a Briarean Midas could ever touch into existence with all his hands.

    Sea-Gift. A Novel.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.