"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults
mid-14c., from Old French brievet "letter, note, piece of paper; papal indulgence" (13c.), diminutive of bref "letter, note" (see brief (adj.)). Army sense is from 1680s.
1839, from French breveter, from brevet (see brevet (n.)). Related: Breveted; breveting.