from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One of several small ropes attached to the leech of a sail for drawing the sail in or up.
  • noun A small net for drawing fish from a trap or a larger net into a boat.
  • transitive verb To gather in (a sail) with brails.
  • transitive verb To haul in (fish) with a brail.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A section of a log-raft, six of which make an average tow.
  • noun Naut., one of certain ropes made fast to the after-leech of a fore-and-aft sail, and led through blocks on the mast or gaff down to the deck, to assist in taking in the sail; a rope made fast to the head of a jib for a similar purpose.
  • noun In falconry: A piece of leather used to bind up a hawk's wing.
  • noun [⟨ F. brayeul, “the parts or feathers about the Hauks fundament, called by our falconers the brayl in a shortwinged and the pannel in a long-winged hauk” (Cotgrave).] The mass of feathers about a hawk's fundament; the crissum of a falcon.
  • To fasten up (the wings of a bird).
  • Nautical, to haul in by means of the brails: usually followed by up.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Falconry) A thong of soft leather to bind up a hawk's wing.
  • noun (Naut.) Ropes passing through pulleys, and used to haul in or up the leeches, bottoms, or corners of sails, preparatory to furling.
  • noun A stock at each end of a seine to keep it stretched.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To haul up by the brails; -- used with up.

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

  • noun nautical a small rope used to truss up sails
  • verb To reef, shorten or strike sail using brails.

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

  • verb take in a sail with a brail
  • noun a small net used to draw fish into a boat
  • noun a small rope (one of several) used to draw a sail in
  • verb haul fish aboard with brails


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

[Middle English braile, from Old French brail, belt, from Medieval Latin brācale, from Latin brācae, breeches; see bracket.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French braiel, from Medieval Latin bracale ‘girdle’ (from bracae ‘breeches’).


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  • “Couple of you come aft here and brail up the spanker!”

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858

    November 26, 2011