from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A simple rigid structure in the shape of an L, one arm of which is fixed to a vertical surface, the other projecting horizontally to support a shelf or other weight.
  • n. A small shelf or shelves supported by such structures.
  • n. Architecture A decorative or weight-bearing structural unit, two sides of which form a right angle with one arm flush against a wall and the other flush beneath a projecting surface, such as eaves or a bay window.
  • n. A wall-anchored fixture for gas or electricity.
  • n. A square bracket.
  • n. An angle bracket.
  • n. Mathematics See brace.
  • n. Chiefly British One of a pair of parentheses.
  • n. A classification or grouping, especially within a sequence of numbers or grades, as a category of incomes sharing the same tax rate.
  • n. The distance between two impacting shells, the first aimed beyond a target and the second aimed short of it, used to determine the range for artillery fire.
  • n. The shells fired in such a manner.
  • transitive v. To furnish or support with a bracket or brackets.
  • transitive v. To place within or as if within brackets.
  • transitive v. To classify or group together.
  • transitive v. To include or exclude by establishing specific boundaries.
  • transitive v. To fire beyond and short of (a target) in order to determine artillery range.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fixture attached to a wall to hold up a shelf.
  • n. Any intermediate object that connects a smaller part to a larger part, the smaller part typically projecting sideways from the larger part.
  • n. "(" and ")" specifically, the other forms above requiring adjectives for disambiguation.
  • n. One of several ranges of numbers.
  • v. To bound on both sides, to surround as enclosing with brackets.
  • v. To place in the same category.
  • v. To mark distinctly for special treatment.
  • v. To set aside, discount, ignore.
  • v. To take multiple images of the same subject, using a range of exposure settings, in order to help ensure that a satisfactory image is obtained.
  • v. In the philosophical system of Edmund Husserl and his followers, to set aside metaphysical theories and existential questions concerning what is real in order to focus philosophical attention simply on the actual content of experience.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An architectural member, plain or ornamental, projecting from a wall or pier, to support weight falling outside of the same; also, a decorative feature seeming to discharge such an office.
  • n. A piece or combination of pieces, usually triangular in general shape, projecting from, or fastened to, a wall, or other surface, to support heavy bodies or to strengthen angles.
  • n. A shot, crooked timber, resembling a knee, used as a support.
  • n. The cheek or side of an ordnance carriage.
  • n. One of two characters [], used to inclose a reference, explanation, or note, or a part to be excluded from a sentence, to indicate an interpolation, to rectify a mistake, or to supply an omission, and for certain other purposes; -- called also crotchet.
  • n. A gas fixture or lamp holder projecting from the face of a wall, column, or the like.
  • n. A figure determined by firing a projectile beyond a target and another short of it, as a basis for ascertaining the proper elevation of the piece; -- only used in the phrase, to establish a bracket. After the bracket is established shots are fired with intermediate elevations until the exact range is obtained. In the United States navy it is called fork.
  • transitive v. To place within brackets; to connect by brackets; to furnish with brackets.
  • transitive v. To shoot so as to establish a bracket for (an object).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with or support by a bracket or brackets; in writing and printing, to place within brackets.
  • To place on or within the same bracket or brackets; join or mention together as coequal or correlative; connect by or as if by a printers' brace: as, the names of Smith and Jones are bracketed, or bracketed together, as candidates.
  • Brackish; salt; briny: as, “living upon beef and brack water.”
  • In ship-building, to unite by a bracket.
  • n. A supporting piece or combination of pieces of moderate projection, generally springing from a vertical surface.
  • n. A gas-pipe with a burner, and often a support for a shade or globe, projecting from a wall or pillar.
  • n. In gunnery, the cheek of a mortar-carriage, made of strong planking.
  • n. One of two marks [ ], formerly called crotchets, used to inclose a note, reference, explanation, or the like, and thus separate it from the context; sometimes, also, one of a pair of braces { } similarly used, or a single brace { used to couple two or more lines or names.
  • n. The position of being classed or bracketed with another or others.
  • n. A name given to a head-dress of the fourteenth century.
  • n. In mining, the platform over the mouth of a shaft.
  • n. Same as bragget.
  • n. In carriages, a heavy standard placed at an incline at the front end of the boot of a coach as a support for the foot-board.
  • n. A stiffening-rib on a casting.
  • n. In wood ship-building, a short crooked timber, resembling a knee, for support or ornament.
  • n. In iron ship-building, a piece of plate of a triangular shape uniting, at their junction, two parts which meet at an angle to strengthen the joint against flexure.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. classify or group
  • v. support with brackets
  • n. a category falling within certain defined limits
  • v. place into brackets
  • n. either of two punctuation marks ([ or ]) used to enclose textual material
  • n. either of two punctuation marks (`<' or `>') used in computer programming and sometimes used to enclose textual material
  • n. a support projecting from a wall (as to hold a shelf)


Possibly French braguette, codpiece, diminutive of brague, breeches, from Old Provençal braga, from Latin brācae, from Gaulish brāca, leg covering.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
bragget, probably from Middle French braguette. (Wiktionary)



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  • mushrooms as brackets: room to mush? (see visuals below)

    August 5, 2011

  • "4. One of two marks , formerly called crotchets, used to inclose a note, reference, explanation, or the like, and thus separate it from the context; sometimes, also, one of a pair of braces similarly used, or a single brace { used to couple two or more lines or names."

    --Century Dictionary

    March 9, 2011

  • If you don’t use brackets in an internally consistent fashion, whether someone else likes the way you chose their styles, you’re an illiterate, uneducated and like not worth the trouble to read, worthless flake.

    Alternatively, you’re a poet.


    September 15, 2009