Online Dictionary

branks Explained

branks at English => English (English Etymology) Of Explained:

1595, of unknown origin, perhaps from Low Ger. An instrument of punishment for women, originally Scottish, it was a kind of iron cage for the head with a metal bit attached to still the tongue. /// "Paide for caring a woman throughe the towne for skoulding, with branks, 4d. [Municipal Accounts of Newcastle, 1595] ///

Branks at English => English (Websters 1913) Of Explained:

Brank \Brank\, Branks \Branks\, n. [Cf. Gael. brangus, brangas,
a sort of pillory, Ir. brancas halter, or D. pranger fetter.]
1. A sort of bridle with wooden side pieces. [Scot. & Prov.
Eng.] --Jamieson.

2. A scolding bridle, an instrument formerly used for
correcting scolding women. It was an iron frame
surrounding the head and having a triangular piece
entering the mouth of the scold.

branks at English (WD) Of Explained:



Origin uncertain; perhaps related to German Pranger, Dutch prang.


* Inter: IPA » /bræŋks/


Inter: en-noun » this plural form only
  • a punishment device, especially for scolding women, consisting of a cage to enclose the head, with a metal gag for the mouth
  • :* 1836: Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, describes the branks used at Newcastle-under-Lyme, and at Walsall, in the reign of James II. — The Gentlemans Magazine'', July 1836 p.98