Green’s Dictionary of Slang

broad adj.

[var. on wide adj. (1)]

1. knowing, alert, ‘on the ball’; if not actually criminal then willing and able to bend any rule.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 138/1: At fairs we make our talk rather broad, to suit the audience.
[US]D.G. Phillips Susan Lenox I 213: Tempest told a story that was ‘broad’. While the others laughed, Susan gazed at him with a puzzled expression.

2. (W.I.) physically large; socially important.

[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 6: Broad massive; big; influential: u. de man broad, star/he is influential.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

broadbrim (n.) [the broad-brimmed hats adopted by many members of the Society of Friends]

1. a Quaker; thus broad-brimmed, sedate.

[[UK]Humours of a Coffee-House 3 Oct. 30: Pray, let’s have done with all things that relate to Religion [...] I must confess the World is now grown so Devoutly Captious, that it is almost Blasphemy to say a Man looks like a Knave that has a Broad-Brimm’d Hat on].
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 218: This the Quaker had observed, and this, added to his behaviour, inspired honest Broadbrim with a conceit, that his companion was, in reality, out of his senses.
[UK]Foote Devil Upon Two Sticks in Works (1799) II 271: fingersee: But here Dr Melchisedech Broadbrim, however. [...] broadbrim: Forasmuch as not one of my brethren can be more zealous than I —.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 483: Therefore the broad-brims for the knave,/ Upon this hillock dug a grave.
[US] ‘The Battle of Brooklyn’ in Meserve & Reardon Satiric Comedies (1969) 93: I hope you wont leave one broad-brim on the continent.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. XXV 159/1: An honest broad-brimmed quaker [etc.].
[UK] ‘A Sup of good Whisky’ in Jovial Songster 136: The Quakers will bid you from drink abstain [...] Yet some of the broadbrims will get to the stuff, / And tipple away till they’ve tippled enough.
[US]Spectator 276: Broadbrim is used as the name of a Quaker correspondent [F&H].
[UK]Marryat Japhet 256: Is it possible Japhet [...] that I find you a broad-brimmed Quaker?
[UK]Crim. Con. Gaz. 25 Aug. 2/3: ‘Halloa you quaker, how are you, old broadbrim?’.
[UK] ‘Uncle Sam’s Peculiarities’ in Bentley’s Misc. IV 48: Philadelphia had attracted none but the real Simon Pures, Obadiah Broadbrims, and Grey Susannahs.
[UK]T. Hood ‘Friend in Need’ Works (1862) V 2791: I’m up to a thing or two, and know the time of day. Broad-brims be hanged! [...] If I’ll be a Quaker any longer, call me pump, and hang an iron ladle to my nose.
[US]Durivage & Burnham Stray Subjects (1848) 58: It was now the turn of the Quaker gentleman to smile [...] But our benevolent friend in the broad brim, was careless – he was!
[UK]Era (London) 1 Sept. 8/3: Alongside [...] swagger a streak of Broadbrims, who are daily sellers of guns to shoot Christians, because they turn the penny — but whose honest, hard working hands have never been seen at the plough [...] or any honest active handicraft.
[US]T. Haliburton Season Ticket 288: He was a Quaker ashore then. [...] I can’t say I pitied old Broadbrim much either.
[UK]J. Grant One of the Six Hundred i: The sly broad-brim, and popularity-hunters of the Peace Society sent a deputation to the Emperor Nicholas [F&H].
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 2 Oct. 7/1: [headline] a quaker can-can / Old Broadbrim’s Batter.
[UK] ‘’Arry on ’Ome Rule’ in Punch 17 July in P. Marks (2006) 121: Old Johnny Broadbrim hisself.

2. a quiet, sedate old man, irrespective of religion.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 97: Broad-Brim originally applied to a Quaker only; but now used in reference to all quiet, sedate, respectable old men.
broadbrow (n.)

a person of wide tastes and interests.

[UK]A.P. Herbert in Punch 12 Jan. 51/1: [title] Ballads for Broad-brows.
[UK]H.G. Wells King who was King i. §2. 22: The Broadbrow is as anxious not to be ‘arty’ as the Low-brow and as terrified of the cheap and obvious as the High-brow [OED].
broad-gauge lady (n.) [a pun on her breadth, and a ref. to the broad-gauge railway tracks, 7ft (1m) wide, which were abandoned when British railways were standardized at 4ft 8½in (44m) in the 1890s]

a woman with wide hips.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

In phrases

broad in the beam (adj.) [beam n.1 ]

fat, overweight, esp. around the hips and buttocks.

[[US]Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) 20 Feb. 7: [This Ned Curtis had a wife, a strapping craft, broad in the beam, with a high starn [sic] and very bluff in the bows] .
[UK]J.S. Coyne Pippins and Pies 102: It was no easy matter, though, to crush Miss Flathers—who was what sailors call ‘broad in the beam’.
[US]Vancouver Indep. (WA) 8 Sept. 2/5: If she is a little stout they say she is ‘broad in the beam’.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 29: ballon (avoir du). To be well-hipped; ‘to be broad in the beam’.
[US]Oasis (Arizola, AZ) 16 Nov. 8/2: The woman was so broad in the beam and her arms were so chubby.
Hawaiian Star (Honolulu, HI) 17 May 12/2: Son Bill passed the six-foot mark [...] He was also broad in the beam and when he entered Columbia College [...] few Sophs there were who cared to tackle him.
[US]Eve. World (NY) 13 Sept. 6/2: An aquatic lady known as High-Powered Maggie, squat in build and broad in the beam.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 31: There once was a lady of Crete / So enormously broad in the beam.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 118: She was about the homeliest woman I’ve ever seen, broad in the beam.