a. A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product, service, or organization.
b. A product or service so identified: bought a popular brand of soap.
c. An association of positive qualities with a widely recognized name, as of a product line or celebrity: The company tried to improve its brand by donating money to charity.
d. A distinctive category; a particular kind: a brand of comedy that I do not care for.
2. A mark indicating identity or ownership, burned on the hide of an animal with a hot iron.
a. A mark burned into a person's flesh, as to identify a convicted criminal or a slave.
b. A mark burned into a person's flesh for ornamental or aesthetic purposes.
4. An association of disgrace or notoriety with something; a stigma. See Synonyms at stain.
5. A branding iron.
6. A piece of burning or charred wood.
7. Archaic A sword: “So flashed and fell the brand Excalibur” (Tennyson).
tr.v. brand·ed, brand·ing, brands
1. To mark with a hot iron, as to show ownership: branded the steer.
2. To provide with or publicize using a brand name or other readily recognized identifier: a line of cars branded with mythological names.
3. To consider or label as disgraceful or infamous; stigmatize: branded the deserters as cowards.
4. To impress firmly; fix ineradicably: Imagery of the war has branded itself into the national consciousness.
[Middle English, torch, from Old English; see gwher- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.