AskDefine | Define braid

Dictionary Definition



1 a hairdo formed by braiding or twisting the hair [syn: plait, tress, twist]
2 trimming used to decorate clothes or curtains [syn: gold braid, braiding]


1 make by braiding or interlacing; "lace a tablecloth" [syn: lace, plait]
2 decorate with braids or ribbons; "braid a collar"
3 form or weave into a braid or braids; "braid hair" [syn: pleach] [ant: unbraid]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


Old English breġdan, from Germanic *bregdan. Cognate with Dutch breien.


  • /breɪd/


  1. To make a sudden movement with, to jerk.
  2. To start into motion.
    • Late C14: For verray wo out of his wit he breyde. — Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘The Franklin's Tale’, Canterbury Tales
  3. To weave together, intertwine (strands of fibers, ribbons, etc.); to arrange (hair) in braids.




  1. A weave of three of more strands of fibers, ribbons, cords or hair often for decoration.


weave of three of more strands

Extensive Definition

A braid (also called plait) is a complex structure or pattern formed by intertwining three or more strands of flexible material such as textile fibers, wire, or human hair. Compared to the process of weaving a wide sheet of cloth from two separate, perpendicular groups of strands (warp and weft), a braid is usually long and narrow, with each component strand functionally equivalent in zigzagging forward through the overlapping mass of the others.
The simplest possible braid is a flat, solid three-strand structure. More complex braids can be constructed from an arbitrary (but usually odd) number of strands to create a wider range of structures: wider ribbon-like bands, hollow or solid cylindrical cords, or broad mats which resemble a rudimentary perpendicular weave.
Braids are commonly used to make rope, decorative objects, and hairstyles (also see pigtails). Complex braids have been used to create hanging fiber artworks.

Ropes and cables

Braiding creates a composite rope that is thicker and stronger than the non-interlaced strands of yarn. Braided ropes are preferred by arborists and rock climbers because they do not twist under load, as does an ordinary twisted-strand rope. These ropes consist of one or more concentric tubular braided jackets surrounding a single untwisted yarn of straight fibers.
In electrical and electronic cables, braid is a tubular sheath made of braided strands of metal placed around a central cable for shielding against electromagnetic interference. The braid is grounded while the central conductor(s) carry the signal.
Flat braids made of many copper wires are also sometimes used for flexible electrical connections between large components. The numerous smaller wires comprising the braid are much more resistant to breaking under repeated motion and vibration than is a cable of larger wires.
Similar braiding is used on pressurized rubber hoses, e.g. in plumbing and hydraulic brake systems in automobiles. Braiding is also used for fibres for composite reinforcements.

Other braids

Gold braid and silver braid are components or trims of many kinds of formal dress, including military uniform (in epaulettes, aiguillettes, on headgear).


Braids are often used figuratively to represent interweaving or combination, such as in "He braided many different ideas into a new whole."
Braiding happens when a river is carrying vast amounts of eroded sediment. Sediment is deposited as islands in the channel causing the river to split up into many winding channels.
In some river and stream systems, small streams join together and redivide in many places. Such stream systems are said to be braided. These are often found in alluvial fans at the outlet of canyons. This is a result of heavy sediment deposition at high flows followed by re-erosion at low flows. See also river delta.
There is also a mathematical braid theory which is closely connected with knot theory, both being subfields of topology.

See also

braid in Aymara: K'ana
braid in Czech: Splétání textilních materiálů
braid in German: Flechten (Tätigkeit)
braid in Spanish: Trenza
braid in French: Tresse
braid in Italian: Treccia
braid in Dutch: Vlecht
braid in Norwegian: Flette
braid in Japanese: 組み紐
braid in Portuguese: Nó de trança
braid in Sicilian: Trizza
braid in Finnish: Letti
braid in Swedish: Fläta

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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