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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. A plant with a slender woody stem bearing stout prickles; especially, species of rosa, rubus, and smilax.

2. Anything sharp or unpleasant to the feelings. The thorns and briers of reproof. (Cowper) Brier root, the root of the southern smilax laurifolia and s. Walleri; used for tobacco pipes. Cat brier, green brier, several species of smilax (s. Rotundifolia, etc) sweet brier (rosa rubiginosa). See sweetbrier. Yellow brier, the rosa Eglantina.

Origin: oe. Brere, brer, as. Brer, braer; cf. Ir. Briar prickle, thorn, brier, pin, gael. Preas bush, brier, W. Prys, prysg.