1 [brahy-er]
a prickly plant or shrub, especially the sweetbrier or a greenbrier.
a tangled mass of prickly plants.
a thorny stem or twig.
Also, briar.

before 1000; Middle English brer, Old English brǣr, brēr; akin to bramble

briery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
briar or brier1 (ˈbraɪə)
1.  Also called: tree heath an ericaceous shrub, Erica arborea, of S Europe, having a hard woody root (briarroot)
2.  a tobacco pipe made from the root of this plant
[C19: from French bruyère heath, from Late Latin brūcus, of Gaulish origin]
brier or brier1
[C19: from French bruyère heath, from Late Latin brūcus, of Gaulish origin]
'briary or brier1
'briery or brier1

brier or briar1 (ˈbraɪə)
any of various thorny shrubs or other plants, such as the sweetbrier and greenbrier
[Old English brēr, brǣr, of obscure origin]
briar or briar1
[Old English brēr, brǣr, of obscure origin]
'briery or briar1
'briary or briar1

brier2 (ˈbraɪə)
a variant spelling of briar

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"thorny shrub, heath," 1540s, variant of M.E. brere, from O.E. brer (Anglian), brær (W.Saxon) "brier, bramble, prickly bush," of unknown origin. Briar is the most recent variant (c.1600). Originally used of prickly, thorny bushes in general, now mostly restricted to wild rose bushes. Used figuratively
(in pl.) for "troubles" (c.1500).

type of tobacco pipe introduced to England c.1859 made from the root of a certain shrub, 1868, from Fr. bruyère "heath plant," from O.Fr. bruiere "heather, briar, heathland, moor" (12c.), from Gallo-Romance *brucaria, from *brucus "heather," from Gaulish (cf. Breton brug "heath," O.Ir. froech).
Form altered in English by influence of brier (1).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Brier definition

This word occurs frequently, and is the translation of several different terms. (1.) Micah 7:4, it denotes a species of thorn shrub used for hedges. In Prov. 15:19 the word is rendered "thorn" (Heb. _hedek_, "stinging"), supposed by some to be what is called the "apple of Sodom" (q.v.). (2.) Ezek. 28:24, _sallon'_, properly a "prickle," such as is found on the shoots of the palm tree. (3.) Isa. 55:13, probably simply a thorny bush. Some, following the Vulgate Version, regard it as the "nettle." (4.) Isa. 5:6; 7:23-25, etc., frequently used to denote thorny shrubs in general. In 10:17; 27:4, it means troublesome men. (5.) In Heb. 6:8 the Greek word (tribolos) so rendered means "three-pronged," and denotes the land caltrop, a low throny shrub resembling in its spikes the military "crow-foot." Comp. Matt. 7:16, "thistle."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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