a large fern or brake, especially Pteridium aquilinum.
a cluster or thicket of such ferns; an area overgrown with ferns and shrubs.

1275–1325; Middle English braken < Scandinavian; compare Swedish bräken fern, Norwegian brake juniper

brackened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bracken (ˈbrækən)
1.  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
2.  a clump of any of these ferns
[C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish bräken, Danish bregne]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"coarse fern," early 14c., northern England word, from a Scandinavian source (cf. Dan. bregne, Swedish bräken "fern").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Bracken fern and wild ginger thrived in the late-summer understory.
Bracken is particularly abundant on the island, with heather growing in some other parts.
Bracken became editor and immediately began to encourage local writers.
Bracken never explained what he meant, so there is no definitive clarification today.
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