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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Brier \Bri"er\, Briar \Bri"ar\ (br[imac]"[~e]r), n. [OE. brere, brer, AS. br[=e]r, br[ae]r; cf. Ir. briar prickle, thorn, brier, pin, Gael. preas bush, brier, W. prys, prysg.]

  1. A plant with a slender woody stem bearing stout prickles; especially, species of Rosa, Rubus, and Smilax.

  2. Fig.: Anything sharp or unpleasant to the feelings.

    The thorns and briers of reproof.

    Brier root, the root of the southern Smilax laurifolia and Smilax Walteri; -- used for tobacco pipes. See also 2nd brier.

    Cat brier, Green brier, several species of Smilax ( Smilax rotundifolia, etc.)

    Sweet brier ( Rosa rubiginosa). See Sweetbrier.

    Yellow brier, the Rosa Eglantina.


Brier \Bri"er\, n.

  1. the white heath Erica arborea.

  2. a smoking pipe made of the root of the brier[1].

    Note: Brierroot seems to have been used formerly as a term meaning root of the Smilax laurifolia and is now defined as root of the Erica arborea. Not clear when this changed. -- PJC.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"thorny shrub, heath," 1540s, variant of Middle English brere, from Old English brer (Anglian), brær (West Saxon) "brier, bramble, prickly bush," which is of unknown origin. Briar is the most recent variant (c.1600). Originally used of prickly, thorny bushes in general, now mostly restricted to wild rose bushes. Used figuratively (in plural) for "troubles" from c.1500.


type of tobacco pipe introduced to England c.1859 and made from the root of a certain shrub, 1868, from French bruyère "heath plant," from Old French bruiere "heather, briar, heathland, moor" (12c.), from Gallo-Roman *brucaria, from *brucus "heather," from Gaulish (compare Breton brug "heath," Old Irish froech). Form altered in English by influence of brier (n.1).


n. (alternative spelling of briar English)

  1. n. tangled mass of prickly plants [syn: brierpatch, brier patch]

  2. a thorny stem or twig

  3. Eurasian rose with prickly stems and fragrant leaves and bright pink flowers followed by scarlet hips [syn: sweetbrier, sweetbriar, briar, eglantine, Rosa eglanteria]

  4. a very prickly woody vine of the eastern United States growing in tangled masses having tough round stems with shiny leathery leaves and small greenish flowers followed by clusters of inedible shiny black berries [syn: bullbrier, greenbrier, catbrier, horse brier, horse-brier, briar, Smilax rotundifolia]

  5. evergreen treelike Mediterranean shrub having fragrant white flowers in large terminal panicles and hard woody roots used to make tobacco pipes [syn: tree heath, briar, Erica arborea]

Brier, WA -- U.S. city in Washington
Population (2000): 6383
Housing Units (2000): 2115
Land area (2000): 2.130056 sq. miles (5.516820 sq. km)
Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km)
Total area (2000): 2.130056 sq. miles (5.516820 sq. km)
FIPS code: 07940
Located within: Washington (WA), FIPS 53
Location: 47.790019 N, 122.273068 W
ZIP Codes (1990): 98036
Note: some ZIP codes may be omitted esp. for suburbs.
Brier, WA

Briar, Briars or Brier may refer to:

Briar (thicket) (also spelt brier), common name for a number of unrelated thorny plants that form thickets.

Brier (surname)

Brier is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

  • Bob Brier (born 1943), American Egyptologist
  • Kathy Brier (born 1975), American actor and singer
  • Markus Brier (born 1968), Austrian golfer

Usage examples of "brier".

Two years ago, when she had turned seventeen, he had at last given Brier her chance as a randon candidateif she passed his private initiation.

Once, Brier could have judged to a hair how matters stood between the brothers.

Before Brier could stop her, she had slipped into the crowd and begun to winnow through it, apparently in search of the most articulate sleep-talker.

Before she could answer, Brier Iron-thorn came swiftly into the cell, very large and controlled, prepared to be very dangerous.

She introduced Lyra to them but not to Brier Iron-thorn, whose expression stopped her.

Not waiting to see if he obeyed, not needing to, she and Jorin went in search of Brier Iron-thorn, whom they found at the head of the main stairs, outrun by the fleeing Highborn.

As Lyra reluctantly departed, Jame wondered if the old woman would also dismiss Brier Iron-thorn.

Mistrusting their stomachs if not their nerves, Brier stopped them at the stair-head and descended alone, cautiously, into the chambers of her former lord.

The cadets rowed furiously to keep in the center of the channelno easy matter without the rudder oar, which Brier had out of its lock to fend off debris.

From the other end of the barge, near the prow, Brier Iron-thorn stared at her.

But what lady of stature, what Captain Hawthorn, and what had Vant warned Brier about?

Out in the hall, Jame turned leftaway from the direction in which Brier had goneand stormed off.

None of them had seen Brier in hours, and all found excuses not to talk about her.

If Brier had come this way, though, it ought at least to support Jame.

For a long moment, Brier was silent, staring blindly at the far horizon.