American Dictionary of the English Language

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BREVE,noun [Latin brevis.]

1. In music, a note or character of time, equivalent to two semibreves or four minims. When dotted, it is equal to three semibreves.

2. In law, a writ directed to the chancellor, judges, sheriffs or other officers, whereby a person is summoned, or attached, to answer in the king's court.

This word, in the latter sense, is more generally written brief.