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[brou] /braʊ/
Anatomy. the ridge over the eye.
the hair growing on that ridge; eyebrow.
the forehead:
He wore his hat low over his brow.
a person's countenance or mien.
the edge of a steep place:
She looked down over the brow of the hill.
before 1000; Middle English browe, Old English brū; akin to Old Norse brūn, Sanskrit bhrūs
Can be confused
brows, browse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for brows
  • Growing up the name always raised eye brows, especially among college professors.
  • He has a narrow face and curly hair, which he likes to gel, and expressive eyes canopied with dark brows.
  • He dreamed of laying his big, blunt-fingered hands on the brows of patients in hospital wards.
  • So sculpted were the angles of his cheeks, brows, and nose that he looked as if he wore a mask.
  • My sense is that a lot of folks in town are furrowing their brows trying to think of a way to thread the policy needle here.
  • Not sure where the green lipstick and angled brows come in.
  • But economists look to the future with furrowed brows.
  • And they are no longer the only ones with furrowed brows.
  • Consultants have rethought strategy to the nth degree but seldom furrow their brows about sales.
  • They have little oil, so they furrow their brows to find alternatives.
British Dictionary definitions for brows


the part of the face from the eyes to the hairline; forehead
short for eyebrow
the expression of the face; countenance: a troubled brow
the top of a mine shaft; pithead
the jutting top of a hill, etc
(Northern English, dialect) a steep slope on a road
Word Origin
Old English brū; related to Old Norse brūn eyebrow, Lithuanian bruvis, Greek ophrus, Sanskrit bhrūs
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 brows



early 14c., browes, brues "brow, forehead, eyebrow," earlier brouwes (c.1300), bruwen (c.1200), from Old English bru, probably originally "eyebrow," but extended to "eyelash," then "eyelid" by association of the hair of the eyebrow with the hair of the eyelid, the eyebrows then becoming Old English oferbrua "overbrows" (early Middle English uvere breyhes or briges aboue þe eiges).

The general word for "eyebrow" in Middle English was brew, breowen (c.1200), from Old English bræw (West Saxon), *brew (Anglian), from Proto-Germanic *bræwi- "blinker, twinkler" (cf. Old Frisian bre, Old Saxon brawa, Middle Dutch brauwe "eyelid," Old High German brawa"eyebrow," Old Norse bra "eyebrow," Gothic brahw "twinkle, blink," in phrase in brahwa augins "in the twinkling of an eye").

Old English bru is from Proto-Germanic *brus- "eyebrow" (cf. Old Norse brun), from PIE *bhru- "eyebrow" (cf. Sanskrit bhrus "eyebrow," Greek ophrys, Old Church Slavonic bruvi, Lithuanian bruvis "brow," Old Irish bru "edge"). The -n- in the Old Norse (brun) and German (braune) forms of the word are from a genitive plural inflection.

Words for "eyelid," "eyelash," and "eyebrow" changed about maddeningly in Old and Middle English (and in all the West Germanic languages). By 1530s, brow had been given an extended sense of "forehead," especially with reference to movements and expressions that showed emotion or attitude.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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brows in Medicine

brow (brou)

  1. The eyebrow.

  2. See forehead.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for brows


Related Terms

highbrow, lowbrow, middlebrow

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with brows
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

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