adj. brav·er, brav·est
1. Possessing or displaying courage; valiant.
2. Making a fine display; impressive or showy: “a coat of brave red lipstick on a mouth so wrinkled that it didn’t even have a clear outline” (Anne Tyler).
3. Excellent; great: “The Romans were like brothers/In the brave days of old” (Thomas Macaulay).
1. A Native American warrior.
2. A courageous person.
3. Archaic A bully.
v. braved, brav·ing, braves
1. To undergo or face courageously.
2. To challenge; dare: “Together they would brave Satan and all his legions” (Emily Brontë).
3. Obsolete To make showy or splendid.
To make a courageous show or put up a stalwart front.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Old Italian or Old Spanish bravo, wild, brave, excellent, probably from Vulgar Latin *brabus, from Latin barbarus; see barbarous.]
Synonyms: brave, courageous, fearless, intrepid, bold, audacious, valiant, valorous, mettlesome, plucky, dauntless, undaunted
These adjectives mean having or showing courage under difficult or dangerous conditions. Brave, the least specific, is frequently associated with an innate quality: “Familiarity with danger makes a brave man braver” (Herman Melville).
Courageous implies consciously rising to a specific test by drawing on a reserve of inner strength: The courageous soldier helped the civilians escape from the enemy.
Fearless emphasizes absence of fear and resolute self-possession: “world-class [boating] races for fearless loners willing to face the distinct possibility of being run down, dismasted, capsized, attacked by whales” (Jo Ann Morse Ridley).
Intrepid sometimes suggests invulnerability to fear: Intrepid pioneers settled the American West.
Bold stresses readiness to meet danger or difficulty and often a tendency to seek it out: “If we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at the hazard of their lives … then bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by” (Theodore Roosevelt).
Audacious implies extreme confidence and boldness: “To demand these God-given rights is to seek black powerwhat I call audacious power” (Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.)
Valiant suggests the bravery of a hero or a heroine: “a sympathetic and detailed biography that sees Hemingway as a valiant and moral man” (New York Times).
Valorous applies to the deeds of heroes and heroines: “The other hostages [will] never forget her calm, confident, valorous work” (William W. Bradley).
Mettlesome stresses spirit and love of challenge: “her horse, whose mettlesome spirit required a better rider” (Henry Fielding).
Plucky emphasizes spirit and heart in the face of unfavorable odds: “Everybody was … anxious to show these Belgians what England thought of their plucky little country” (H.G. Wells).
Dauntless refers to courage that resists subjection or intimidation: “So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,/There never was knight like the young Lochinvar” (Sir Walter Scott).
Undaunted suggests persistent courage and resolve: “Death and sorrow will be the companions of our journey…. We must be united, we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible” (Winston S. Churchill). See Also Synonyms at defy.