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So I found out that talk page editing on the dictionary‘s been broken, possibly for quite a while now. I should have realized the spambots were being mighty quiet. It should be working again now; and now that it’s back in operation Iustinus noticed my entry for ‘brew‘ only had a phrasal translation—the Romans weren’t known to be all that into beer—and brought my attention to the later word braxare, which I’d somehow overlooked in my sources… So I ran to look it up.

The word is often referred as a derivative of a word bracis marked as Gaulish and mentioned in Pliny:

Galliæ quoque suum genus farris dedere, quod illic bracem vocant, apud nos sandalam, nitidissimi grani.

The Gaulish countries, too, have given their own kind of spelt, which they call bracis there, sandala in our country, which has a very light grain.

(Both bracis and sandala are variously spelt spelts; the former is brace in Lewis and Short, among other places, brance in others, and the latter is also given as scandala and scandula.  Any or all of these grains might also be emmer instead of spelt, depending on who you ask.)

More to the point, though, as far as brewing goes, the word gets related to several Celtic words for malt, like Irish braich [bˠɾˠaç] and Welsh brag [brɑːɡ], which are sometimes recognized as Pliny’s bracis anyway, regardless of the change in meaning.

Anyway, from bracis we get a few medieval/late Latin words:

  • braciare ‘brew’
  • braciator ‘brewer (m.)’
  • braciatrix ‘brewer (f.)’
  • bracina, braciatorium, and braciarium ‘brewery/malthouse’

—the last of which is a parallel formation to ‘brasserie’ and is thought to be attested in Vindolanda tablet 595, which if true would actually put some of this usage well back into the Roman era.

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