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[brak-it] /ˈbræk ɪt/
a support, as of metal or wood, projecting from a wall or the like to hold or bear the weight of a shelf, part of a cornice, etc.
a shelf or shelves so supported.
Also called square bracket. one of two marks [ or ] used in writing or printing to enclose parenthetical matter, interpolations, etc.
  1. brackets, parentheses of various forms indicating that the enclosed quantity is to be treated as a unit.
  2. (loosely) vinculum (def 2).
  3. Informal. an expression or formula between a pair of brackets.
a grouping of people based on the amount of their income:
the low-income bracket.
a class; grouping; classification:
She travels in a different social bracket.
  1. any horizontally projecting support for an overhanging weight, as a corbel, cantilever, or console.
  2. any of a series of fancifully shaped false consoles beneath an ornamental cornice.
(on a staircase) an ornamental piece filling the angle between a riser and its tread.
  1. a flat plate, usually triangular with a flange on one edge, used to unite and reinforce the junction between two flat members or surfaces meeting at an angle.
  2. any member for reinforcing the angle between two members or surfaces.
a projecting fixture for gas or electricity.
Gunnery. range or elevation producing both shorts and overs on a target.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with or support by a bracket or brackets.
to place within brackets; couple with a brace.
to associate, mention, or class together:
Gossip columnists often bracket them together, so a wedding may be imminent.
Gunnery. to place (shots) both beyond and short of a target.
Photography. to take (additional shots) at exposure levels above and below the estimated correct exposure.
1570-80; earlier also brag(g)et (in architecture); of obscure origin
Related forms
unbracketed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bracket
  • First, in a series of first-round games, each team plays the three rivals in its opening bracket.
  • If you're shooting film, bracket a lot to make sure of getting the exposure you want.
  • Or better yet, bracket your exposure by shooting some lighter and some darker than what your meter specifies.
  • Let's bracket the truth of those contentions and instead examine the rhetorical impact of them.
  • It is not the job of archaeologists to bracket off and ignore evidence.
  • Let's bracket for a moment whether or not this can be worked out within a revealed theology.
  • Our handyman shimmed up the cabinet to level with the others, and built a sort of bracket to attach it to the wall.
  • And people in your same income bracket should not be priced out of being your customer.
  • Fewer brackets are simpler to administer, but one bracket is simplest of all.
  • We'll probably buy eventually, we're in the income bracket where it makes eventual sense to, but there's no hurry to do so.
British Dictionary definitions for bracket


an L-shaped or other support fixed to a wall to hold a shelf, etc
one or more wall shelves carried on brackets
(architect) a support projecting from the side of a wall or other structure See also corbel, ancon, console2
Also called square bracket. either of a pair of characters, [ ], used to enclose a section of writing or printing to separate it from the main text
a general name for parenthesis, square bracket, brace (sense 6)
a group or category falling within or between certain defined limits: the lower income bracket
the distance between two preliminary shots of artillery fire in range-finding
a skating figure consisting of two arcs meeting at a point, tracing the shape ⋎
verb (transitive) -kets, -keting, -keted
to fix or support by means of a bracket or brackets
to put (written or printed matter) in brackets, esp as being irrelevant, spurious, or bearing a separate relationship of some kind to the rest of the text
to couple or join (two lines of text, etc) with a brace
(often foll by with) to group or class together: to bracket Marx with the philosophers
to adjust (artillery fire) until the target is hit
Word Origin
C16: from Old French braguette codpiece, diminutive of bragues breeches, from Old Provençal braga, from Latin brāca breeches
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 bracket

1570s, bragget, "architectural support," probably from Middle French braguette "codpiece armor" (16c.), from a fancied resemblance of architectural supports to that article of attire (Spanish cognate bragueta meant both "codpiece" and "bracket"), diminutive of brague "knee pants," ultimately from Gaulish *braca "pants," itself perhaps from Germanic (cf. Old English broc "garment for the legs and trunk;" see breeches). The sense might reflect the "breeches" sense, on the notion of two limbs or of appliances used in pairs. The typographical bracket is first recorded 1750, so called for its resemblance to double supports in carpentry (a sense attested from 1610s). Senses affected by Latin brachium "arm."


1797, of printed matter, "to enclose in brackets," from bracket (n.). Also, "to couple or connect with a brace" (1827), also figurative, "to couple one thing with another" in writing (1807). Artillery rangefinding sense is from 1903, from the noun (1891) in the specialized sense "distance between the ranges of two shells, one under and one over the object." Related: Bracketed; bracketing. In home-building and joinery, bracketed is attested by 1801.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bracket in Technology

(Or square bracket) A left bracket or right bracket.
Often used loosely for parentheses, square brackets, braces, angle brackets, or any other kind of unequal paired delimiters.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Article for bracket

in architecture, device of wood, stone, or metal that projects from or overhangs a wall to carry a weight. It may also serve as a ledge to support a statue, the spring of an arch, a beam, or a shelf. Brackets are often in the form of volutes, or scrolls, and can be carved, cast, or molded. They are sometimes entirely ornamental. Among the types of bracket are the corbel and the console, but there are many types that have no special name.

Learn more about bracket with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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