brank(brăngk) or branks (brăngks)
A device consisting of a metal frame for the head and a bit to restrain the tongue, formerly used to punish scolds.
[Possibly from Dutch branken, legs (of a compass, scissors, etc.), pl. of branke, branch, from Late Latin branca, paw; see branch.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Antiques) (formerly) an iron bridle used to restrain scolding women
[C16: of unknown origin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
n. (used with a pl. v.)
a headpiece with a flat iron bit to restrain the tongue, formerly used to punish scolds.
[1585–95; perhaps to be identified with Middle English bernak bridle, snaffle < Old French]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.