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[breyl] /breɪl/
Nautical. any of several horizontal lines fastened to the edge of a fore-and-aft sail or lateen sail, for gathering in the sail.
a leather binding for a hawk's wings, to prohibit flight.
verb (used with object)
  1. to gather or haul in (a sail) by means of brails (usually followed by up).
  2. to transfer (fish) from a net to the hold of a ship.
to bind (the wings of a bird) in order to prevent it from flying.
Origin of brail
1400-50; late Middle English, variant of brayell < Anglo-French braiel; Old French < Medieval Latin brācāle breechbelt, noun use of neuter of brācālis, equivalent to Latin brāc(ae) trousers (< Gaulish) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
unbrailed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for brail
  • Persons catching shrimp with cast nets or brail nets shall not remove the heads of shrimp on site.
  • Foot-rope shall be measured from brail line to brail line, first tie to last tie on the bottom line.
  • On seines, the name shall be located on either brail.
  • Several examples might be, for the visually impaired, one can have brail lettered terminals and input/output devices.
  • For example, the families of blind students were not able to provide them with expensive brail paper and tape recorders.
British Dictionary definitions for brail


one of several lines fastened to the leech of a fore-and-aft sail to aid in furling it
(transitive) sometimes foll by up. to furl (a fore-and-aft sail) using brails
Word Origin
C15: from Old French braiel, from Medieval Latin brācāle belt for breeches, 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 brail

small rope used on ships, mid-15c., from Old French brail, earlier braiel "belt, leather thong," from Latin bracale "waistbelt," from bracæ "breeches" (plural, see breeches).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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