Looking for translations of room for children I found the word "brattery" along with the word "nursery", which I believe is most commonly used for children's room in a house. Is "brattery" still in use or is it obsolete now? Or does it have some specific context?

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    Whereever did you find that translation? It must have been an old book indeed. Brattery enjoyed some currency in the 1840s and was even included in early dictionaries but hasn't seen the light of day in a long time.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 11:03
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    I don't think it ever really saw much use; it is a humorous combination of nursery and brat. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 11:05
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    I imagine, even when it was in use, it was a tongue-in-cheek derivation of the word brat which means ill-behaved or annoying child. Hence brattery meant all of a family's ill-behaved or annoying children. (if you click through the NGrams' citations of the word, you'll find it frequently co-locates with squalling etc).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 11:07
  • Russian to English dictionary, it was mentioned when I look for "children's" translation. As I newer saw/heard this one before it sparked my interest. And the same dictionary which gave me this word doesn't have an article/entry for "brattery"... So I see it is kind of stuff you can find in OED or something similar only :)
    – Mike
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 11:07
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    @Dan: looking at Google books, it was used for both the children and for the room. For example, "but, alas ! the apartment above my head proves a squalling brattery," Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 11:14

2 Answers 2


Brat is a word originating c.1500, slang meaning beggar's child (Etymonline)

According to Encyclo.Co.UK, a brattery is British slang for a nursery, a creche, a school.

A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English lists its use from c. 1780 as a pejorative colloquialism for nursery

The apartment above my head proves a squalling brattery. - Beckford, 1834

A recent use:

In a recent display of full-blown brattery, several liberal operatives renewed attacks on me at another website. - The BulletProof Monk

Though I've never heard it, seeing as brat and rug rat are common names for small children, I think it's meaning is easy to arrive at.

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    It's slightly common to add "-ery" to other words, as a humorous device. I think in both AmE and BrE.
    – Fattie
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 13:16

If you saw it used recently, it's simply a humorous addition of "-ery" to the word "brat".

Note that we have common ("real") words like nunnery, fishery and so on.

It's somewhat common to do the same thing to other words - for humorous effect.

So, say you refer to your buddies as "wankers", you might walk in and say "what's happening in this wankery today!" ... ok?

It's just possible that the word, in the distant past, existed and was used: but it does not today.

(1) It is "not a word", do not use it ever.

(2) Adding "-ery" is a somewhat common sort of language humour. That's what you saw, if you saw or heard a recent usage.

Note - you have mentioned in a comment (why not edit the question?) this is from a Russian to English dictionary. Forget it, the dictionary is crap.

That's all there is to it.

Just to be perfectly clear Mikhail, if you don't know, "brat" is simply current aggressive slang for "badly behaved kid". (Don't use it when talking normally; only use it when screaming or about to get in a fight. Example "Control that brat of yours!")

It's about the same tone as calling an adult an "idiot".

  • I'd say this suffix is still "productive" everywhere, but it often has significant AmE overtones to me (nuttery = mental hospital, eatery = eating-house, etc.). I've no idea why you can put your cat in a cattery while you're away on holiday, but there's no equivalent doggery. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 13:59
  • I would ... suspect that say "eatery" is pretty old. I think the only way it is productive, in AmE today, is just humorously / sarcastically. BTW I believe "doggery" specifically has another meaning; it's fairly common right? I think that's precisely why it's not used in the "cattery" sense.
    – Fattie
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 20:01
  • Doggery isn't/wasn't known to me. The first definition I just found was M-W a cheap saloon (presumably, AmE only). And doglike behavior or conduct, especially when surly, which is what I'd call doggishness (or dogginess if I'm being "cute"). I don't specifically recall even hearing it before, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn I've used fuckuppery more than once. Prolly it's just throwaway nonce-words these days. Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 1:50

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