1400-50;late Middle Englishbrowsen, perhaps a verbal derivative of Anglo-Frenchbroz, plural of brot shoot, new growth, Old Frenchbrost < Old Low Franconian*brust bud, noun derivative of *brustjan; compare Old Saxonbrustian to come into bud
nonbrowsing, adjective, noun
overbrowse, verb (used with object), overbrowsed, overbrowsing.
1523, "feed on buds," from M.Fr. brouster, from O.Fr. broster "to sprout, bud," from brost "young shoot, twig," probably from P.Gmc. *brustjan "to bud." Lost its final -t in Eng. on the mistaken notion that it was a pp. inflection. Figurative extension to "peruse" (books) is 1870s, Amer.Eng.