O.E. brad "broad, flat, open, extended," from P.Gmc. *braithaz (cf. O.Fris. bred, O.N. breiðr, Du. breed, Ger. breit, Goth. brouþs), of unknown origin. Not found outside Germanic languages. No clear distinction in sense from wide
. Slang extension to meaning "woman"
(1911) may be suggestive of broad hips, but it also may trace to Amer.Eng. abroadwife, for a woman away from her husband, often a slave. Earliest use suggests immorality or coarse, low-class women. Because of this negative association, and the rise of women's athletics, the track and field broad jump was changed to the long jump c.1967. Related: Broadly.