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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.
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
References in classic literature ?
The American forest admits of the passage of horses, there being little underbrush, and few tangled brakes.
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.
I did injustice,'' he said, ``to the thieves and outlaws of these woods, when I supposed such banditti to belong to their bands; I might as justly have confounded the foxes of these brakes with the ravening wolves of France.
He held on savagely, and stuck out his feet to act as brakes on the dark slope of the hot, moist earth.
We forced him to release his hold with no little difficulty, and without another word he left us, and rushing off plunged in among these brakes and brambles, so as to make it impossible for us to follow him; from this we suppose that madness comes upon him from time to time, and that some one called Fernando must have done him a wrong of a grievous nature such as the condition to which it had brought him seemed to show.
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.
It is at these places, called "portages," that the Canadian voyageur exhibits his most valuable qualities; carrying heavy burdens, and toiling to and fro, on land and in the water, over rocks and precipices, among brakes and brambles, not only without a murmur, but with the greatest cheerfulness and alacrity, joking and laughing and singing scraps of old French ditties.
3) The formulae for stun'sle brakes are uniformly unreliable, and will continue to be so as long as air is compressible.
It was his first experience of a large manufacturing city, and the crowded tram- car with its continually squealing brakes frightened him.
There was a great jarring of brakes, a scuttering of locked wheels on the dry road, and the car came to a standstill a full yard from where he stood.
Romantic possibilities of accident lurked in the worn thread of the screw that adjusted the saddle, in the precarious pedals, in the loose-knit chain, in the handle-bars, above all in the brakes and tyres.
His keen ears caught the whining of brake shoes on wheels and a few minutes later the signal blast for brakes off.