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Parentheses

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Saphia
1248591.  Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:45 am Reply with quote

The word "brackets" as in ( and ) comes from the Latin for "breeches". However, it's journey towards its current meaning is disputed.

It's thought to go something like this:
- a leg-garment (Latin: bracae)
- knee pants (breeches / britches)
- cod-piece (as in a groin support)
- an architectural support, or bracket
- the typographic bracket or parentheses, which mirror the appearance of the architectural bracket - () [] {}

Interestingly, the {} style bracket have a related trousery name - they are called "braces".

There is another, simpler explanation: that it simply refers to something that comes in pairs (as trousers and parentheses both do).

 
Bondee
1248615.  Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:05 am Reply with quote

Saphia wrote:
There is another, simpler explanation: that it simply refers to something that comes in pairs (as trousers and parentheses both do).


As does a brace of pheasants.

 
suze
1248635.  Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:30 am Reply with quote

A brace in that sense was used for game birds before it was used for anything else, although by now it is also commonly used in football if a player scores two goals in a game.

It is derived from French les bras = the arms, simply because arms too come in pairs. Similarly, to embrace is to hold with the two arms.

The braces which hold a chap's trousers up have the same etymology, since they pass over the arms, and the braces which are used in orthodontistry are apparently named after the trouser-holder-uppers.

 
crissdee
1248673.  Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:06 pm Reply with quote

And apparently, (as I have learned from "Countryfile") shepherds who enter sheepdog trials (they're all guilty I tells ya!*) with two dogs are said to "work a brace".






*extremely weak joke.

 

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