Meaning of BROAD in English


I. ˈbrȯd adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English brood, from Old English brād; akin to Old High German breit broad, Old Norse breithr, Gothic braiths


a. : marked by ample extent from side to side or by relatively large distance between sides or limits : not narrow

broad pen strokes

broad shoulders

broad streets

broad fields

b. : having extension from side to side of a specified dimension

10 feet broad

2. : extending far and wide : spacious

the broad sea

the broad western plains


a. : clear , open , full

a crime committed in broad daylight

b. : patent , unmistakable , plain

a broad hint

4. : marked by lack of restraint, delicacy, or subtlety:

a. obsolete : outspoken

from broad words … Macduff lives in disgrace — Shakespeare

b. : coarse

a term thought a little too broad for a radio program

merry tales and broad jests

: indelicate , risqué

broad burlesque humor


a. : marked by a generous wide-ranging breadth or tolerance : not parochial

a man of broad views and interests

broad sympathies that knew no barrier of race or creed

b. : widely applicable : not limited or restricted : general

a broad rule, not to be narrowly construed

used the word in its broad sense


a. : relating to or having to do with the main, essential, or general aspects (as of a problem)

scientific knowledge in its broad outlines — Bertrand Russell

achieved broad agreement on the issue, leaving details to be settled by subordinates

b. of a library classification : having relatively large subdivisions — compare close

7. often capitalized : marked by Broad Church attitudes or practices : liberal : not meticulous about niceties of ritual and dogma

8. of a coin : having a large diameter and small thickness

9. of a sailing course : with the wind nearly abeam

10. : of markedly dialectal nature especially in pronunciation

a broad North Country accent

11. of texiles : woven wide ; especially : woven in widths (as greater than 30 inches) suitable for clothing and decorating uses — compare : narrow

12. phonetics

a. of a vowel : open — used specifically of a (alone or as a member of a digraph) pronounced with a vowel sound that has or approaches the quality of the a in father, calm, par and especially in a class of words (as ask, laugh) in which the pronunciation is a or aa(ə) in most United States speech outside of eastern New England

b. in certain Celtic languages

(1) of a vowel : back

(2) of a consonant : having the allophone that characterizes it when it is pronounced with a back vowel

13. : characterized by demand and supply for large blocks of securities or by participation by many customers — used of the market for a security or the market as a whole


a. of wool : straight-fibered and nonelastic : coarser than usual for the type in question

b. of bran : consisting of flakes or nearly whole husks

15. of pronunciation transcription

a. : phonemic

b. : representing by distinct nondiacritical symbols all qualitatively and phonemically distinct sounds — compare narrow

16. of a radio circuit : having a slowly varying response to different frequencies — opposed to sharp

17. of insurance coverage : covering two or more related risks


broad , deep , and wide may all refer to horizontal expansion or dimension. broad and wide are often interchangeable

broad and wide fields

to the broad ocean and the azure heavens — William Wordsworth

view the ocean wide and bright — William Wordsworth

wide is more common than broad when units of measurement are mentioned

rugs eight feet wide

and when unfilled space between limits is being considered

a wide doorway

When no vertical measurement or measurement from a surface downward is likely to be involved, all three words may be used to indicate extent away from the observer

a wide, broad, or deep flower garden

deep is likely to apply to distance extending straight back from a point considered at the front; broad and wide to lateral distances

that called on Hertha in deep forest glades — S.T.Coleridge

high on a broad unfertile tract of forest-skirted down — William Wordsworth

that we might look into a forest wide — John Keats

II. adverb

Etymology: Middle English broode, from Old English brāde, from brād broad — more at broad I

: broadly , widely — now used chiefly in phrases

broad awake

broad off

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English brood, from brood, adjective — more at broad I

1. : the broad or flat part of something (as the hand)

2. Britain : an expansion of a river — often used in plural

the Norfolk broads

3. : broadpiece

4. broads plural , slang : playing cards

5. slang

a. : woman

b. : prostitute


[from abroad (I) , taken as containing the indefinite article a ]

dialect : journey , trip

must give up your broad … for I want to have rails right away — Southern Literary Messenger

7. : broadside 6

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.