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in a brace of shakes

Instantly, quickly, or in an extremely short amount of time, as of a task or event. "Brace," taken from the old French for the arms' breadth from hand to hand, means twice; the phrase as a whole refers either to an old nautical term, meaning the time it takes the sail to shake twice as it takes up the wind, or else the short time it takes to shake a dice-box twice. I'll have that ready for you in a brace of shakes. We'll be there in a brace of shakes.
See also: brace, of, shake

splice the mainbrace

nautical To issue and partake in an extra ration of alcoholic spirits, especially rum or grog, amongst members of crew aboard a sea vessel. (The mainbrace, also spelled "main brace," is a brace attached to the main yard on sailing ships. "Splicing the mainbrace" was originally the very difficult job of repairing this brace, one which earned the repairman an extra ration of spirits; eventually, this euphemistic secondary meaning became the primary one.) As part of the celebrations for her Diamond Jubilee, the Queen gave the order to all in the Royal Navy to splice the mainbrace as a gesture of good cheer.
See also: splice

brace of shakes

Instantly, quickly, or in an extremely short amount of time, as of a task or event. "Brace," taken from the old French for the arms' breadth from hand to hand, means twice; the phrase as a whole refers either to an old nautical term, meaning the time it takes the sail to shake twice as it takes up the wind, or else the short time it takes to shake a dice-box twice. Often used in the phrase "in a brace of shakes." I'll have that ready for you in a brace of shakes. We'll be there in a brace of shakes.
See also: brace, of, shake

brace oneself for something

 
1. Lit. to hang onto something or prop oneself against something in preparation for something that might cause one to fall, blow away, wash away, etc. Hold onto the rail. Brace yourself. Here comes another huge wave.
2. Fig. to prepare for the shock or force of something. Brace yourself for a shock. As the boat leaned to the right, I braced myself for whatever might happen next.
See also: brace

brace someone or something up

to prop up or add support to someone or something. They braced the tree up for the expected windstorm. They braced up the tree again after the storm.
See also: brace, up

brace up

to take heart; to be brave. Brace up! Things could be worse. I told John to brace up because things would probably get worse before they got better.
See also: brace, up

belt and braces

using more than one method to make sure that something is safe or sure to happen Our staff have identity cards and number codes to open doors - that's part of our belt and braces approach to security.
See also: and, belt, brace

brace up

Also, brace oneself. Summon up one's courage or resolve, as in Brace up, we don't have much farther to go, or Squaring his shoulders, he braced himself for the next wave. This idiom uses brace in the sense of "to bolster" or "to strengthen." The first term dates from the early 1700s, the variant from about 1500.
See also: brace, up

brace up

v.
1. To provide something or someone with additional support; prop up someone or something: We used plywood to brace up the wall paneling. The old tower would have fallen down if we hadn't braced it up.
2. To prepare or strengthen someone or something to face some challenge: We braced up the car for the road race. They gave me some encouraging words to brace me up for the interview. I'm glad you were braced up for your exams.
3. To summon one's strength or endurance; prepare to face a challenge: I spent all day bracing up for my performance in the concert that evening.
See also: brace, up
References in periodicals archive ?
A brace can either restrict or assist body movement or be prescribed for some other surgical reason by someone who will not dispense such a device without thinking about it first.
I often draw this analogy: If you look at an ankle brace and you say, 'What's the best way to prevent someone from injuring an ankle again or support the ankle injury he has?
ONCE the idea of being told you needed a brace would have filled any fashion conscious teenager with horror.
Reinforcement of the truss web with a brace increases the effective stiffness of the composite section, and results in an increased axial load capacity of the web.
Casting and braces can be used alone as a treatment method or in conjucntion with other methods.
This improved efficacy of the knee brace, particularly on a prophylactic basis, is well documented by research and very evident in the wide usage of braces among college athletes and sports programs today.
There have also been great innovations in braces in the past 10 years or so which means they are a lot less noticeable.
Dentists at Cleveland Orthodontics, a specialist centre seeing patients from across the region, introduced white braces at the beginning of the year.
Getting braces is a good thing because you will enjoy the results--straight teeth and a beautiful smile--for a long time.
My dentist suggested a fixed brace, but I'm worried it will look ugly.
For a full set of braces that's 28 brackets on 28 teeth
The braces collect forces from intermediate concrete floors and transfer them to corner columns, allowing more slender columns to be used.
Luckily, there was a solution to Kaela's problem: braces.
According to research conducted at Concordia University in Montreal, though, the commercial braces are the best answer for athletes involved in prolonged periods of rigorous activity.