braces, bracing, braced
(The plural form for meaning 5 is brace.)
1) VERB If you brace yourself for something unpleasant or difficult, you prepare yourself for it.

[V pron-refl for n] He braced himself for the icy plunge into the black water...

[V pron-refl] She braced herself, as if to meet a blow.

2) VERB If you brace yourself against something or brace part of your body against it, you press against something in order to steady your body or to avoid falling.

[V pron-refl against n] Elaine braced herself against the dresser and looked in the mirror...

[V n against n] He braced his back against the wall.

3) VERB If you brace your shoulders or knees, you keep them stiffly in a particular position.

[V n] He braced his shoulders defiantly as another squall of wet snow slashed across his face.

4) VERB To brace something means to strengthen or support it with something else.

[V n] Overhead, the lights showed the old timbers, used to brace the roof.

5) N-COUNT: usu N of n You can refer to two things of the same kind as a brace of that thing. The plural form is also brace.

...a brace of bottles of Mercier Rose champagne.

...a few brace of grouse.

6) N-COUNT: oft n N A brace is a device attached to a part of a person's body, for example to a weak leg, in order to strengthen or support it.

He wore leg braces after polio in childhood...

She wears a neck brace.

7) N-COUNT A brace is a metal device that can be fastened to a child's teeth in order to help them grow straight.
8) N-PLURAL Braces are a pair of straps that pass over your shoulders and fasten to your trousers at the front and back in order to stop them from falling down. [BRIT]
(in AM, use suspenders)
9) N-COUNT Braces or curly braces are a pair of written marks that you place around words, numbers, or parts of a computer code, for example to indicate that they are connected in some way or are separate from other parts of the writing or code. [AM]
(in BRIT, usually use curly brackets)

English dictionary. 2008.