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brake 1

1. A device for slowing or stopping motion, as of a vehicle, especially by contact friction.
2. Something that slows or stops action.
v. braked, brak·ing, brakes
To reduce the speed of with or as if with a brake.
1. To operate or apply a brake.
2. To be slowed or stopped by or as if by the operation of a brake.

[Early Modern English brake, bridle, curb (for a horse), perhaps from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, nose ring, curb, flax brake; see brake2.]

brake 2

1. A toothed device for crushing and beating flax or hemp.
2. A heavy harrow for breaking clods of earth.
3. An apparatus for kneading large amounts of dough.
4. A machine for bending and folding sheet metal.
tr.v. braked, brak·ing, brakes
1. To crush (flax or hemp) in a toothed device.
2. To break up (clods of earth) with a harrow.

[Middle English, from Middle Dutch, from Middle Low German; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]

brake 3

A lever or handle on a machine such as a pump.

[Middle English, from Old French brac, from oblique form of bras, arm; see bracer2.]

brake 4

1. Any of various ferns of the genus Pteris having pinnately compound leaves and including several popular houseplants.
2. Any of certain other ferns, such as bracken.

[Middle English, probably back-formation from braken; see bracken.]

brake 5

An area overgrown with dense brushwood, briers, and undergrowth; a thicket.

[Middle English, from Middle Low German; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]

brake 6

n. also break
A high horse-drawn carriage with four wheels.
v. Archaic
A past tense of break.
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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.brakes - a braking device consisting of a combination of interacting parts that work to slow a motor vehiclebrakes - a braking device consisting of a combination of interacting parts that work to slow a motor vehicle
brake - a restraint used to slow or stop a vehicle
brake band - a band that can be tightened around a shaft to stop its rotation
hydraulic brake, hydraulic brakes - brake system in which a brake pedal moves a piston in the master cylinder; brake fluid then applies great force to the brake pads or shoes
automotive vehicle, motor vehicle - a self-propelled wheeled vehicle that does not run on rails
brake light, stoplight - a red light on the rear of a motor vehicle that signals when the brakes are applied to slow or stop
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
They heard the grind of brakes, the soft thud of horses' hoofs, once a sharp cry of the driver, and once a woman's laughter.
Fogg had not time to stop the brave fellow, who, opening a door unperceived by the Indians, succeeded in slipping under the car; and while the struggle continued and the balls whizzed across each other over his head, he made use of his old acrobatic experience, and with amazing agility worked his way under the cars, holding on to the chains, aiding himself by the brakes and edges of the sashes, creeping from one car to another with marvellous skill, and thus gaining the forward end of the train.
And then at length the glorious mad descent down three plunging cataracts of rocky road, the exciting rattling of the harness, the grinding of the strong brakes, the driver's soothing calls to his horses, and the long burnished horn trailing wild music behind us, like invisible banners of aerial brass,--oh, it stirred the dullest blood amongst us thus as it were to tear down the sky towards the white roofs of Yellowsands, glittering here and there among the clouds of trees which filled the little valley almost to the sea's edge, while floating up to us came soft strains of music, silken and caressing, as though the sea itself sang us a welcome.
(3) The formulae for stun'sle brakes are uniformly unreliable, and will continue to be so as long as air is compressible.
His keen ears caught the whining of brake shoes on wheels and a few minutes later the signal blast for brakes off.
The berries were picked, the way lost, tears shed, baby consolation administered, and then the little pair lay down among the brakes and died with their eyes wide open and the toes of their four little boots turned up to the daisies in the most pathetic manner.
The chauffeur clapped on his brakes and stopped short.
Then came Sir Carados of the dolorous tower, and Sir Turquine, knights of the castle, and there encountered with them Sir Percivale de Galis and Sir Lamorak de Galis, that were two brethren, and there encountered Sir Percivale with Sir Carados, and either brake their spears unto their hands, and then Sir Turquine with Sir Lamorak, and either of them smote down other, horse and all, to the earth, and either parties rescued other and horsed them again.
When one of the factions is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth; as the faction between Lucullus, and the rest of the nobles of the senate (which they called Optimates) held out awhile, against the faction of Pompey and Caesar; but when the senate's authority was pulled down, Caesar and Pompey soon after brake. The faction or party of Antonius and Octavianus Caesar, against Brutus and Cassius, held out likewise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were overthrown, then soon after, Antonius and Octavianus brake and subdivided.
An automobile, darting out from a cross-street, caused the driver of the wagon to pull in abruptly and apply the brake. With the crate thus suddenly arrested, Michael's body was precipitated forward.
About daylight we passed Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant rested three hundred years, and at whose gates good old Eli fell down and "brake his neck" when the messenger, riding hard from the battle, told him of the defeat of his people, the death of his sons, and, more than all, the capture of Israel's pride, her hope, her refuge, the ancient Ark her forefathers brought with them out of Egypt.
A long saloon carriage, with a guard's brake behind and an engine in front, was waiting there.