1. n. & v.
1. (often in pl.) a device for checking the motion of a mechanism, esp. a wheel or vehicle, or for keeping it at rest.
2 anything that has the effect of hindering or impeding (shortage of money was a brake on their enthusiasm).
1. intr. apply a brake.
2 tr. retard or stop with a brake.
Phrases and idioms:
brake block a block used to hold a brake shoe. brake drum a cylinder attached to a wheel on which the brake shoe presses to brake. brake fluid fluid used in a hydraulic brake system. brake horsepower the power of an engine reckoned in terms of the force needed to brake it. brake lining a strip of fabric which increases the friction of the brake shoe. brake shoe a long curved block which presses on the brake drum to brake. brake van Brit. a railway coach or vehicle from which the train's brakes can be controlled.
Etymology: prob. obs. brake in sense 'machine-handle, bridle' 2. n. a large estate car.
Etymology: var. of BREAK(2) 3. n. & v.
1. a toothed instrument used for crushing flax and hemp.
2 (in full brake harrow) a heavy kind of harrow for breaking up large lumps of earth.
--v.tr. crush (flax or hemp) by beating it.
Etymology: ME, rel. to BREAK(1) 4. n.1 a thicket.
Etymology: ME f. OF bracu, MLG brake branch, stump 5. n. bracken.
Etymology: ME, perh. shortened f. BRACKEN, -en being taken as a pl. ending 6.
archaic past of BREAK(1).