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[braw-nee] /ˈbrɔ ni/
adjective, brawnier, brawniest.
muscular; strong.
Origin of brawny
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English; see brawn, -y1
Related forms
brawnily, adverb
brawniness, noun
unbrawny, adjective
burly, robust, strapping.
weak, slight, frail. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for brawny
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Ere he raised it the white-haired man had sprung upon him like a tiger, and seized his throat in his brawny hands.

  • Walker looked at the brawny doctor, and his placid face was clouded.

    The Explorer W. Somerset Maugham
  • Joe growled again, and crept closer over the fire, his mother's brawny figure towering above him.

  • Nobody, she was quite sure, could be so big and brawny as the lumberman from Michigan.

    Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp Annie Roe Carr
  • I had a clear mental picture of him—huge, brawny, muscular, a wolfskin thrown about him and a great war-club in his hand.

    Frenzied Fiction Stephen Leacock
British Dictionary definitions for brawny


adjective brawnier, brawniest
muscular and strong
Derived Forms
brawnily, adverb
brawniness, noun
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 brawny

1590s, "characterized by muscle," from brawn + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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brawny in Medicine

brawny brawn·y (brô'nē)
adj. brawn·i·er, brawn·i·est

  1. Strong and muscular.

  2. Hardened; calloused.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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