Rantings of a sub-editor

March 25, 2010

Art desk in teaching-subs-a-word shocker!

Filed under: brace — substuff @ 12:11 pm

Brace yourselves.

A brace, as a collective noun, does not mean what I thought it did.

It is one of those words that has hovered on the periphery of my consciousness, never needing to be written or spoken (or looked up), just casually absorbed on occasion. I’d heard “a brace of pheasants” and suchlike and assigned it a vague meaning of ‘several’.

Wrong!

Upon hearing the phrase “a brace of c***s” used to describe two, ahem, football players, I enquired as to the meaning and was told it meant ‘two’. It is often used in sports commentary, apparently.

To the OED I went – and I tip my hat. Indeed it does mean two, or, more specifically, a pair.

brace:
a pair of something, typically of birds or mammals killed in hunting

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