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[brig-uh nd] /ˈbrɪg ənd/
a bandit, especially one of a band of robbers in mountain or forest regions.
Origin of brigand
1350-1400; variant of Middle English briga(u)nt < Middle French brigand < Old Italian brigante companion, member of an armed company, equivalent to brig(are) to treat, deal (with), make war (derivative of briga trouble, strife; of uncertain origin) + -ante -ant
Related forms
brigandage, noun
brigandish, adjective
brigandishly, adverb
outlaw, highwayman, desperado, cutthroat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for brigand
Historical Examples
  • The Mexican brigand hoped to take the "cow boys" unawares—surprise them—kill them, and drive away their herds.

  • I had no doubt at all I was in the company of a smuggler, and possibly of a brigand.

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • A brigand was crouching at a front corner of the main building!

  • I went to meet them, and told them the brigand had fled over two hours previously.

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • Need we tell with what triumphant success the "brigand's Bride" was received?

    Men's Wives William Makepeace Thackeray
  • This peasant had an unusually energetic countenance, almost like some brigand.

    Virgin Soil Ivan S. Turgenev
  • The oracle replied to his question that Adrastus was king of the Sicyonians and Cleisthenes was a brigand.

  • And there springs Radicofani, the eagle's eyrie of a brigand brood.

    New Italian sketches John Addington Symonds
  • With his black felt hat and his old brown coat, discoloured by long usage, he looked like a kind of brigand.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • Every one to his calling, friend Isaachar, said the brigand chief.

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf George W. M. Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for brigand


a bandit or plunderer, esp a member of a gang operating in mountainous areas
Derived Forms
brigandage, brigandry, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Old Italian brigante fighter, from brigare to fight, from briga strife, of Celtic origin
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 brigand

c.1400, "lightly armed foot soldier," from Old French brigand (14c.), from Italian brigante "trooper, skirmisher, foot soldier," from brigare (see brigade). Sense of "one who lives by pillaging" is from early 15c., reflecting the lack of distinction between professional mercenary armies and armed, organized criminals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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