|Photo by BgMslDudes|
Noun & verb. Middle English.
[Anglo-Norman braun, Old French braon fleshy part especially of the hind leg, from Germanic (Old High German brato, German Braten roast flesh; compare with synonymous Old English bræde, and brædan to roast).]
A1(a) noun. Muscle, lean flesh, especially of the arm, leg, or thumb; loosely muscularity, physical strength. ME
A1(b) noun. obsolete. The arm, calf, or buttock. LME-M19
A2 noun. Boar's flesh as food. Now usually specifically pig's head etc. boiled, chopped and moulded. LME
A3 noun. obsolete. The flesh of other animals as food. LME-M17
A4 noun. A boar fattened for the table. obsolete except dialectical. LME
A5 noun. obsolete. Calloused skin. M16-M17
B1(a) verb trans. obsolete. Harden, make callous. L16-M17
B2(b) verb trans. & intrans. Fatten (a boar), (of a boar) grow fat, for the table. Now rare or obsolete. L16
Also: brawner noun (obsolete except dialectical) a boar fattened for the table. M17
Adjective. Late Middle English.
[from BRAWN noun + -Y.]
1 Characterized by brawn; strong, muscular. LME
2 Calloused, hardened. Now rare or obsolete. L16
Also: brawniness noun M17
Brawn is a funny word and concept in English, as there's often a tacit assumption that if you're brawny, you're not that bright. In fact, it's hardly tacit at all, enshrined in such sayings as: "He's all brawn and no brains," or even more directly (and with a touch of cultural elitism thrown in): "Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred; strong in't arm and thick in't head." That assumption is just a tad unfair; after all, who's to say that the beefcake in our main picture doesn't hold a Ph.D in Advanced Theoretical Physics? (though I bet he doesn't). The brains vs. brawn idea also fires many fun and pointless debates over which women prefer; scientific studies have been conducted on it (brains win, apparently), and agony aunts have even pondered over such charming questions as: "I like a guy who's smart but a bit of a weed - would he be a good mate from a biological and evolutionary perspective?" However, brains and brawn are not completely incompatible, and there are plenty of famous examples of men that had both: Ernest Hemingway, for one, who was both a great writer and a seasoned adventurer. Or perhaps Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes before going on to become a celebrated neurologist. These are exceptional examples, of course, but there are plenty of others mixing up the gene pool, including those that do only have brawn or brains and, yes, those that have neither.
|Curiously, it's not a debate men have very often|
(photo by SS Cusp)
So, after all that, which is it: brains or brawn?
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