1. the group of small marine animals forming the food of whalebone whales.
  2. the young of herring and sprat.

noun Informal.

  1. Briton(def 1).

noun Hebrew.

  1. the Jewish rite of circumcising a male child eight days after his birth.

  1. Britain.
  2. British.

noun (functioning as singular or plural)

  1. the young of a herring, sprat, or similar fish
  2. minute marine crustaceans, esp copepods, forming food for many fishes and whales


  1. informal a British person

abbreviation for

  1. Britain
  2. British


  1. a variant of bris

U.S. colloquial shortening of Britisher or Briton, 1901, formerly (in common with Britisher) highly offensive to Englishmen traveling in the States, who regarded it as yet another instance of the “odious vulgarism” of the Americans, but Bret and Bryt were common Old English words for the (Celtic) Britons and survived until c.1300. In Old French, Bret as an adjective meant “British, Breton; cunning, crafty; simple-minded, stupid.”

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