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[brak-uh n] /ˈbræk ən/
a large fern or brake, especially Pteridium aquilinum.
a cluster or thicket of such ferns; an area overgrown with ferns and shrubs.
Origin of bracken
1275-1325; Middle English braken < Scandinavian; compare Swedish bräken fern, Norwegian brake juniper
Related forms
brackened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bracken
Historical Examples
  • Trevena has written the books of furze and heather and granite and bracken, which outlast time on the hills of Dartmoor.

    By Violence John Trevena
  • I wiped it with a tuft of bracken, and I laughed with something of a bitterness.

    Gilian The Dreamer Neil Munro
  • If he objects to Harriet Mr. bracken will tell him quite plainly what he thinks.

    Mary Rose of Mifflin Frances R. Sterrett
  • When I've heat enough for ol' Mrs. Johnson it's too hot for Mrs. bracken.

    Mary Rose of Mifflin Frances R. Sterrett
  • The man in the bracken cast one look at the stars, then crossed himself and crept out into the moonlight.

    The Hill of Venus Nathan Gallizier
  • I put her on the shelf in Mrs. bracken's kitchen and she—she disappeared!

    Mary Rose of Mifflin Frances R. Sterrett
  • At the village end, I come into a lane, which winds upwards between grassy slopes, to turf and bracken and woods of noble beech.

  • Mr. bracken did not take his hat and mutter that he would be back for dinner.

    Mary Rose of Mifflin Frances R. Sterrett
  • For they were passing a little gully deep in bracken, up which the blast was tearing its tempestuous way.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Oh, Mrs. bracken, how could any man with a heart steal a child's pet bird!

    Mary Rose of Mifflin Frances R. Sterrett
British Dictionary definitions for bracken


Also called brake. any of various large coarse ferns, esp Pteridium aquilinum, having large fronds with spore cases along the undersides and extensive underground stems
a clump of any of these ferns
Word Origin
C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish bräken, Danish bregne
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bracken

"coarse fern," early 14c., a northern England word from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish bregne, Swedish bräken "fern").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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