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or brassière

[bruh-zeer] /brəˈzɪər/
a woman's undergarment for supporting the breasts.
Also called bra.
Origin of brassiere
1910-15; < French brassière bodice worn as an undergarment to support the breasts (now obsolete in this sense), Middle French bracieres camisole, Old French: armor for the arms, equivalent to bras arm (see brace) + -ière, suffix added to body part nouns, the resultant derivative denoting an article for that part < Latin -āria -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for brassiere
Historical Examples
  • She wore no brassiere underneath, and he regarded her breasts somberly.

    Ten From Infinity Paul W. Fairman
  • With the brassiere in place, she stood looking at her slim image.

    Deadly City Paul W. Fairman
  • Sew a piece of tape ending with a loop on the point of the front to fasten the brassiere to the corset.

  • The pattern for the brassiere shown here is in three parts, the front, side-front and back.

  • The tapes are crossed at the back and brought round to the front to regulate the fit of the brassiere.

British Dictionary definitions for brassiere


/ˈbræsɪə; ˈbræz-/
a woman's undergarment for covering and supporting the breasts Often shortened to bra
Word Origin
C20: from C17 French: bodice, from Old French braciere a protector for the arm, from braz arm
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 brassiere

18c., "woman's underbodice," from French brassière "child's chemise; shoulder strap" (17c.), from Old French braciere "arm guard" (14c.), from bras "an arm," from Latin bracchium (see brace (n.)). Modern use is a euphemistic borrowing employed in the garment trade by 1902.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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