brace [bother? haze?]

  • KHS

    Senior Member
    I've never heard it used that way. As a verb, the meaning I am familiar with is to support or strengthen in some way.

    He braced himself before entering into the conflict.
    They braced the weak table leg.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Can "to brace" mean "to bother"? For example, Don't brace me anymore.
    Thanks in advance!
    I also don't know of a use of brace that means "bother." It is possible that you misheard another word. We might be able to figure out the word you are looking for if you give us more of a description of what was going on when you heard it.

    For example, could it have been embrace? That is a form of greeting that is expected in some cultures, but that someone from another culture might find annoying. And embrace would make sense in your sentence.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Bracing" is a form of hazing at military academies in the U.S., but you haven't provided much context.

    A little Googling will show you some examples.
     

    Hole

    Senior Member
    Croatia - Croatian
    I don't think I misheard it. And here is the context: a small criminal threatens to another criminal and wants his money. They finally arrange the meeting when he will give him that money and after that, he says: And don't brace me anymore. I assumed he wanted to say I'll give you the money, but don't bother me anymore, or something like that.
    And I have another one: two guys come to a diner and threaten the owner. A little later, the owner says to his friend: A couple of guys braced me in my diner. As they didn't do anything to him, I don't know what else it could possibly mean.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hole,

    Thanks for giving the background. I agree that neither of the suggestions quite work. Now I'm curious, too. I hope that someone who has more familiarity with crime shows will be able to help us out.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I don't think I misheard it. And here is the context: a small criminal threatens to another criminal and wants his money. They finally arrange the meeting when he will give him that money and after that, he says: And don't brace me anymore. I assumed he wanted to say I'll give you the money, but don't bother me anymore, or something like that.
    And I have another one: two guys come to a diner and threaten the owner. A little later, the owner says to his friend: A couple of guys braced me in my diner. As they didn't do anything to him, I don't know what else it could possibly mean.
    The usage you are suggesting is entirely new to me. Could you find an example in print, anywhere? I'm not saying you are wrong, just that I have not encountered this word in such a sentence.

    As for "brace" meaning "hazing", it appears to me that it is an old-fashioned word rather than something recent.

    link

    ("Boys will be boys" Sherman commented about the "Bracing" problem -as hazing was called- that too often made headlines in those years.)

    This refers to West Point, but at least a century ago, I believe.
     

    Hole

    Senior Member
    Croatia - Croatian
    Actually, I do have an example in print, it is a transcript of a 1973 movie "The Outfit", and these examples are from it. So, it is a pretty old movie and maybe you're right about "brace" meaning "hazing".
     

    Tunalagatta

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi,

    I'm reading an American novel [The Cold Six Thousand - James Ellroy] which is set in the 1960s, and the author frequently uses the verb 'brace'. I have deduced that it means something like 'question, interview, lean on (both literally and figuratively)', with varying degrees of force/menace. Here are some examples:

    (In a police station where there are lots of witnesses to a crime):"A thin cop braced a thin kid. The kid laughed. A fat cop braced a fat man." "I told the backup to brace Ruby and see what he knows."

    (Some people doing undercover investigations): "He braced the barman. He flashed a toy badge." "Wayne braced a mama-san. Wayne waved 50 bucks."

    (People trying to influence others): "Keep your tape rig and brace him again". "Mr Hoover braced Bobby - don't employ Ward J. Littell."

    Is it still used in this way or is it from the 60s and obselete now?
     
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    ExpatCat

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Cursive (bilingual)
    This is an excerpt from the criminal drama series "Law and Order":

    The cop (who was charged with keeping an eye on the kid who is a witness and on the mob's hit list) explains to his superior: "When the kid moved in 2 months ago, we braced everybody that came in here. And the tenants squawked (complained), so word came down to back off".


    I looked up "to brace" and the only definition that appears to fit the context is "to confront with questions". Is this the right definition?
    Also, is this usage of "to brace" common or limited to police dramas like "Law and Order"?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best,
    Jose.
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    In AE brace is used similarly (and with similar connotations) to accost (q.v.) but it is usually referring to an act by a person with authority, such as a policeman or a job supervisor. Accosting by a person with the right to do so.
     

    ExpatCat

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Cursive (bilingual)
    Thanks everyone.
    PS: Sorry, I didn't notice this thread (I searched for "to brace" on this forum prior to asking my question).
    In AE brace is used similarly (and with similar connotations) to accost (q.v.) but it is usually referring to an act by a person with authority, such as a policeman or a job supervisor. Accosting by a person with the right to do so.
    If I understood you correctly, "to brace someone" means "to accost someone with intention to 'check' that person"?
    In other words, a cop can brace me to check my ID?

    Thanks again for your concern!
     
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    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Expatcat,

    Yes, a cop could brace you for almost any reason. These days, in the US, he might have to defend his decision to do so, if you complained to the authorities afterward.

    Now that this thread has been appended to an older thread, I am wondering whether this use of brace is related to the meaning in post #4. According to a cousin who attended VMI (Virginia Military Institute) in the late 1950s or early 1960s, upper-classmen could stop plebes (first year students) and shout "Brace". The plebe was required to stand in an exaggerated posture of attention (brace) until released; failure to obey would result in physical punishment in the form of paddling with a heavy board. (The plebes were required to fashion the paddles themselves, and making them insufficiently effective would result in further punishment.) Naturally, this was abused by those upper-classmen who had personality problems, and is why such hazing is severely restricted, by law, these days. (A boarding school I attended in the mid-1950s had similar forms of hazing.)

    My suggestion is that bracing (as we are discussing) may derive from that same command to stand at attention, and not move, since this is the first thing a cop wants - a subject standing still while his status can be determined. The hazing meaning of brace is certainly close: an accosting by someone with the authority to do so. It is possible (anybody know?) that similar hazing took place at police training academies as well? A quick google on [ hazing police academy ] finds 886,000 hits, many of which also contain the word "brutal". Apparently it was not all fun and games as depicted in the movies, "Police Academy" et seq.
     
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