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bracket

[brak-it] /ˈbræk ɪt/
noun
1.
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.
2.
a shelf or shelves so supported.
3.
Also called square bracket. one of two marks [ or ] used in writing or printing to enclose parenthetical matter, interpolations, etc.
4.
Mathematics.
  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.
5.
a grouping of people based on the amount of their income:
the low-income bracket.
6.
a class; grouping; classification:
She travels in a different social bracket.
7.
Architecture.
  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.
8.
(on a staircase) an ornamental piece filling the angle between a riser and its tread.
9.
Shipbuilding.
  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.
10.
a projecting fixture for gas or electricity.
11.
Gunnery. range or elevation producing both shorts and overs on a target.
verb (used with object)
12.
to furnish with or support by a bracket or brackets.
13.
to place within brackets; couple with a brace.
14.
to associate, mention, or class together:
Gossip columnists often bracket them together, so a wedding may be imminent.
15.
Gunnery. to place (shots) both beyond and short of a target.
16.
Photography. to take (additional shots) at exposure levels above and below the estimated correct exposure.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; earlier also brag(g)et (in architecture); of obscure origin
Related forms
unbracketed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for brackets
  • The lights turn on automatically and come with mounting brackets.
  • Goa is choc-a-bloc with places to stay, spanning all price brackets.
  • Inside, two opposing steel brackets sat almost floating in a tight square pool of sputtering oil.
  • The top floor opens to a balcony shaded by a red-and-yellow awning suspended on metal brackets.
  • One impossible example is added in brackets, to mark the transition from relative to conjunction.
  • What follows, within brackets, is not contained in the first and second editions.
  • Archer mounted the stairs, turned up the light, and put a match to the brackets on each side of the library mantelpiece.
  • Observe that the translations within brackets are not in the original, but inserted by myself.
  • The traps are mounted in brackets and clipped onto the rope so they sit at different depths.
  • Either way, the press conference was probably a bad idea until there is something to put between the brackets.
British Dictionary definitions for brackets

bracket

/ˈbrækɪt/
noun
1.
an L-shaped or other support fixed to a wall to hold a shelf, etc
2.
one or more wall shelves carried on brackets
3.
(architect) a support projecting from the side of a wall or other structure See also corbel, ancon, console2
4.
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
5.
a general name for parenthesis, square bracket, brace (sense 6)
6.
a group or category falling within or between certain defined limits: the lower income bracket
7.
the distance between two preliminary shots of artillery fire in range-finding
8.
a skating figure consisting of two arcs meeting at a point, tracing the shape ⋎
verb (transitive) -kets, -keting, -keted
9.
to fix or support by means of a bracket or brackets
10.
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
11.
to couple or join (two lines of text, etc) with a brace
12.
(often foll by with) to group or class together: to bracket Marx with the philosophers
13.
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 brackets

bracket

n.

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."

v.

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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brackets in Culture

brackets definition


Marks — [ ] — resembling parentheses with square corners. Brackets are often used within quotations to distinguish between the quoter's own words and those of the writer being quoted: “He [the president] made a memorable speech at Gettysburg.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for brackets

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 Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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