BREEZE, (1) A current of air generally taken as somewhat less than a "wind," which in turn is less than a "gale." The term is particularly applied to the light wind blowing landwards by day, "sea-breeze," and the counter wind, blowing off the land at night, "land-breeze." The word appears in Fr. brise (admitted by the Academy in 1762). The Span, brisa, Port. briza, and Ital. brezza are used for a wind blowing from the north or north-east. According to Cotgrave, Rabelais uses brize in the sense of bise, the name of a dry north or north-east wind prevalent in Switzerland and the bordering parts of France, Italy and Germany. The word is first used in English as applied to the cool sea-breeze blowing usually from the east or north-east in the West Indies and Atlantic sea-coast of Central America. It was then applied to sea-breezes from any quarter, and also to the land-breeze, and so to any light wind or current of air. (2) Fine ashes or cinders, the refuse of coal, coke and charcoal burning. This is probably from the O. Fr. brese, modern braise, a word connected with braser, whence Eng. brazier, a pan for burning coals, charcoal, etc.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)