early 14c., "piece of armor for the arms," also "thong, strap for fastening," from Old French brace, braz "arms," also "length measured by two arms" (12c., Modern French bras "arm, power;" brasse "fathom, armful, breaststroke"), from Latin bracchia, plural of bracchium "an arm, a forearm," from Greek brakhion "an arm" (see brachio-). Applied to various devices for fastening and tightening on notion of clasping arms. Of dogs, "a couple, a pair" from c.1400.
mid-14c., "to seize, grasp," also "wrap, enshroud; tie up, fetter," from Old French bracier "to embrace," from brace (see brace (n.)). Meaning "to render firm or steady by tensing" is mid-15c., earlier in figurative sense "strengthen or comfort" (someone), early 15c., with later extension to tonics, etc. that "brace" the nerves (cf. bracer "stiff drink"). Related: Braced; bracing.
An orthopedic appliance that supports or holds a movable part of the body in correct position while allowing motion of the part.
Often braces A dental appliance, constructed of bands and wires that is fixed to the teeth to correct irregular alignment.
A very stiff and exaggerated standing at military attention (1930s+ Armed forces and service academies)verb